2. Guidestoop

‘I thought I should do a poem which had an element of love, since Valentine’s Day falls on the 14th of this month. However, love is a complex old thing and this poem turned out to be about the break-up of a relationship, and the choice of direction that follows it, rather than a happy boy-meets-girl piece.

The milestone or ‘guidestoop’ in question is on the NT’s Longshaw estate, a five minute walk from their tea shop. Keep the building on your left and head straight along the path – you’ll see the guidestoop about 100 yards to the right of the path, after a gateway.



At Longshaw, stark on the moor

like a harsh word on a blank page.

The gritstone faces, telling the way

for those travelling on a large plain.

You read with finger and tongue:

TO CHASTORFILD, on this side.

TO CHAPPIL IN LEE FIRTH, I read from mine.

On the phone tonight you said It’s not over,

it’s just changed direction.

I rejoiced; rejoiced to know

we were not lost,

could make our way.