Our days were numbered in Buxton town;
marked out for a death-march-cum-stroll,
five years to final throes –
a weekend getaway or on parole? Nothing the
chalk-pastel Peak District could serve up
would ever replenish us.

Pastoral; do you remember Bedale?
The Heights of Abraham? Varicose caverns,
waves of dales, the hills all gnarly.
Scaling tourist parks whilst bobbing
on a cable car.

That was Matlock – another spa
town as counsel, slick our thirst.
But there we bickered, picking at
a tray of chips cobwebbed with cheese.
Fidgeting the sinews of goo apart,
all life unlinked in the Styrofoam.

Between bric-a-brac stops and bars, hoping
idol hopping would push momentum to peace.

A moment by the Derwent river;
kayaks side by side A-road bikes –
sickly leather sights in Derby sun,
making me think Kerouac then Gun.
We forced a face in a
pastiche photo booth for two;
hungover eyes, grins petrified to charcoal lines.

There was Bakewell too;
more taut than tart.
We passed through,
track-skipping on the tape deck,
to help county fade away,
Yorkshire-bound roundabouts
blurring towards the A-road.

An arboretum outside Northallerton –
Thorp Perrow – punched in the last nail.
A local production of Shakespeare’s
comedies as medley; you glammed-up,
over-dressed and it was washed out –
my indulgence, cast as the ass at last.

Christy Hall