If these stones could talk

‘Cloth ears’, my mum used to call me

when I got selectively deaf about an instruction,

or when I was absorbed with my nose in a book.

‘Oi, cloth ears!’. I’m talking to you.’

And it’s only recently I realized

where the phrase came from.

Mill workers, deafened by the roar of machinery ,

young ears, damaged beyond repair,

cotton cloth in exchange for hearing.

I am thinking of all this

as I trudge up the steep slopes of Ingleborough

on a path made of old stone slabs

taken, I’m told, from the local mills

when they closed down,

repurposed, protecting

feet from bog, and bog from feet.

For a moment my feet

connect with those

who trod these stones

over a century ago.

Day after day,

year after year,

toiling at the loom.

The wind sighs and a raven croaks,

the path twists through a soundscape,

that they could only imagine.

If these stones could talk
The path up Ingleborough
A view from the top
Looking towards home

5 thoughts on “If these stones could talk

    1. Thanks Andrea, it all came into my mind as I was walking, those stones and the rhythm of walking, and a way of distracting myself from the hard work of walking up a steep slope!

      Liked by 1 person

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