He set his backpack down,

And took his camera out

To capture scenically the tail

Of tumbling waters from

The upper ledge into

The busy beck below.

But, as he did so,

His bag, perhaps set on a slope,

Took off, and rolling,

Bumping as it went

Towards the foaming falls,

Bounced off stones and rocks,

Hurtled, speeding headlong

As it went, unguided,

Pulled by gravity alone.

“Look out!” we shouted,

Watching from afar.

At this he turned to take it in,

Springing then downwards,

As its speed increased,

Till, just as suddenly,

The bumping eased,

As its black bulk was

Intercepted by a sudden rock,

Holding the bag

Like signal traffic lights,

Giving him time to leap

And so retrieve his pack….

He was, he told us,

Just a visitor,

First time upon the fells,

Intent on climbing to the top

Of the Old  Man.

We walked together,

Talking for a time,

Until his younger legs

Became more urging

Than our older tiring ones,

Parting like long-lost friends,

With love shared of this land of fells.  

Barbara Colley 2020