Poetry and Pictures from the Yorkshire Dales by Alan Hartley

dales poetry headerPhotograph ©David Tarn

In Gratitude

To Marie Hartley

askrigg-and-whether-fell.jpgThe Yorkshire Dales, these simple words
Evoke soft rolling, sombre fells
Scattered with trees and lined by drystone walls;
Cow pastures, field barns, cottages,
Smoke rising from lone farmhouse fires,
Slow gentle streams and plunging waterfalls
And moody skies pierced by church spires.
Such images have many roots, not least,
Those springing from the artist's hand,
The guide who finds the essence of the scene,
The eye that looks beyond the layman's glance,
The mind that grasps the inner dream.

The Yorkshire Dales, these simple words
Evoke one artist's name above the rest,
kettlewell.jpgA presence who embodies all they mean:
The nature of the place, the feel, the mood,
The people and their country ways.
With graving tool she has cut sharp
In boxwood blocks an image of the Dales
That holds their quiet beauty fast in time.
With line she has teased out their mysteries
And given warmth to walls of cold grey stone,
With word she has set out the histories
Of Dalesfolk and their lives long gone.

The Yorkshire Dales, these simple words
Evoke in those who truly care,
The thought to say a simple thanks
For all the skill and time and toil she gave
To frame for us in word, woodcut and line
The beauty of the Dales she loved.

Woodcuts from Marie Hartley’s ‘Wood Engravings’, Smith Settle 1996.