Poetry as Destination – Stanzas in Stone

Simon Armitage

Normally on Sundays, I offer you a poem about travel. Something to meld with your travel dreams or take with you as  you go. But today I give you something a little different. A poem, or series of poems, you can experience as you travel. Let me explain.

Walking is, of course, a common activity in the United Kingdom. And the landscapes where walkers tread have inspired many poems over the years – just think of Wordsworth and the Lake District.

A recently completed project In West Yorkshire, England has integrated walking and poetry in a new way. Rather than just being the inspiration for poetry, the landscape has become the medium as well. Thanks to the Stanza Stones project, there are now seven stones inscribed with seven poems across a 47-mile route in West Yorkshire.

Simon Armitage, a renowned poet and author from West Yorkshire, is behind the project which was commissioned by the Ilkley Literature Festival, Armitage described his goals to The Guardian: “I hope the Stanza Stones act as beacons of inspiration, encouraging people to engage with West Yorkshire and Lancashire’s great outdoors in thought, word and deed.”.

From the Stanza Stones project, here is the poem “Snow”.

In the video below, Armitage talks about the project and recites “Snow”.

Click here to download a Stanza Stones Poetry Trail Guide.

I hope you enjoy!


The sky has delivered its blank missive. The moor in coma. Snow, like water asleep, a coded muteness to baffle all noise, to stall movement, still time.
What can it mean that colourless water can dream such depth of white? We should make the most of the light. Stars snag on its crystal points. The odd, unnatural pheasant struts and slides. Snow, snow, snow is how the snow speaks, is how its clean page reads.
Then it wakes, and thaws, and weeps.

©Simon Armitage 2010


  • http://ducktoes.com Cathie

    Oh my gosh..beautiful poem.  Do you have a book of poetry?