companion stones

by wiggs66


(White Edge, Mark Goodwin)

A few weeks ago, at Long Poem Magazine’s ten-year anniversary event, I had the pleasure of hearing Mark Goodwin (and son) read his poem ‘Economy @ Birling Gap, East Sussex, August 2015’, a poem which begins with a timely admonishment from David Graeber –

@ this point we can finally see what’s really at stake

Then two weeks later I was in Derbyshire for a Waymaking event in Buxton as well as a few days hillwalking, and quite by chance came across this excellent stoop stone on White Edge. I later discovered it is Mark Goodwin’s contribution to a lovely, twelve-stone collaboration between local poets and artists. In full, it reads –

for this ride | come out | ward hear | heath | er on air | step | on g | rounded c | loud let | soul rotate | as hori | zon | walk sky | wards

The fractured wrapping of the poem around its two, off-set blocks really echoes the way Mark honours the line (and mid-word) breaks of his work when reading, and which had been such a mesmerising part of his performance at the Long Poem event. The stones were all carved by sculptor Amanda Wray. You can’t tell from my picture, but this one has a small, shallow pool on its surface for reflecting back the sky. Fittingly, Mark describes the moors as vertigo-grounds where horizons swirl, and indeed the physical act of circling the stone to read the text has the disorienting effect of throwing you into the sky. As he says in his commentary –

we will have to step with | and not against our world’s | vertigo-grounds as we hold | on to sky

The project website has more information, including commentaries on the individual pieces, as well as a map of where to find them –