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Sheep amongst the bluebells Photographer: Paul Harris

If poetry be the food of love, read on…

Tuesday 9 June, 2020, by Katy Foxford

We all know poetry is food for the soul. And, at this difficult time, poems of hope and warmth are especially needed.

We wanted to share with you this wonderful poem from YDNPA Access Ranger Calum Stott, who farms a small flock of sheep near Orton.

Calum wrote it inspired by the rugged landscape and way of life in the Cumbrian area of the National Park where he lives and works.

On Christmas Eve I took the chance to inspect a section of footpath going up over Middleton Fell. I’m not much of a poet or a writer of any means, but the words just sort of came to me as I was walking up there on my own.

We think it’s rather wonderful!

A Bleating Place

The sheep all had a meeting,
Atop a lonely hill.
To discuss their existence,
And all the worldly ills.
They covered every topic,
Religion, famine, war.
Conversation soon did turn to,
What they’d been placed here for?
The Suffolks talked of eating grass,
Until the day was done.
The Texels spoke of show sales,
And red rosettes they’d won.
The group of Bluefaced Leicesters,
Couldn’t see the point at all,
Of carrying on living,
If the sky was doomed to fall.
A minority of rare breeds,
Wouldn’t stop to think,
Of current situations,
Just their prehistoric links.
The remaining congregation,
Herdwicks, Roughs and Swales,
Having barely spoke a single word,
Proceed to tell their tale.
Each knew the route to happiness,
And the point to all their strife.
Long days spent wandering the fells,
Were the best times of their life.

So if ever you’re feeling lost,
Or can’t hold back the tears.
Think like a hardy hill sheep,
A farmer’s had to shear.
Climb up on a mountain top,
Look at the world below.
A day spent walking in the clouds,
Will stop you feeling low.

© Calum Stott

Buttertubs Pass above Thwaite in Upper Swaledale
Our talented poet Calum Stott admiring the breathtaking scenery

We would love it if you would share a line or short verse from your favourite poem about the Yorkshire Dales or the countryside – or maybe even from a poem you’ve written yourself.

Please post in comments

Picture of Katy Foxford

Katy Foxford

Katy is the Tourism Support Officer with the YDNPA


2 Replies to “If poetry be the food of love, read on…”

  1. Winsome rogerson says:

    Love it

  2. John Brisby says:

    A Dales Blessing

    The Swale, the Ure, the Nidd, the Wharfe, the Aire, the Calder the Don.
    God bless these rippling rivers and the deep dales where they run
    And the elements that form them: rough grit rock, rain, wind, sun.
    All the folk that work along them, may He bless them, every one.

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