Impossible Play

Re-run of a sunday morning exploration.

Posted by Kevin Flint on Apr 20, 2017

Impossible Play

One Sunday morning with Martin Spence who’s based in Sheffield, and Graham Jones who’s based in Bakewell, we departed from Hathersage for our morning run up to Mother Cap and across to Higgar Tor and Stanage Edge before returning down the valley back to Hathersage.

On the same day with my friend, Mary, we returned back to part of our earlier run to take some photographs and to explore the place from a different perspective. It was this experience that provided the inspiration for the poem that follows.

Impossible Play

Woke this morning’s
dappled dawn,
its minion,
covering us with gold dust,
never announces itself
in any of its bold brush strokes.
Grey mists,
the earth reaching up
then stilled,
its timeless dark horizons
playing with the light
creating so many contrasts on that canvas
we call a run this morning.

It echoes now
with a steady rhythm of sure feet
over dark peat
through the forest



toward Mother Cap,
never look back
heady airs
breeze in our face
upward again:
Higgar Tor,
announces itself
without fanfare.
Its tongue playing in the ears
with the north winds
bringing a splash of rain
over the sun-dried rocks.
Its dark peaty hags



in the silence of the seasons


stepping out

on familiar ground
towards Stanage.

Camera ready
afternoon dawned
with our play on the same ground.

In the forest
trees readily gave up
their many cargos
with impressionist strokes
playing in the light.
The shuttering of darkness
makes that same light
its sublime gift.
In ek-stasis
a dream-world
outside time,
that time
created for chronometers:
the path
in its becoming
gifts its visitors
with a river of earth
rushing past a block of gritstone.
There are no eddies here:
frozen in time
its silence speaks
speaking to us of aeons
of the unknown,
making us camera-ready
in this age of the spectacle.

Light though never captured,
its gift
the play of lines and shades,
while opening explorations from
Picasso, Braque, Monet and others.

Here the seemingly familiar
rocks, paths and trees around us
are at once reborn
given new life
with the freedom to focus anew
with altered apertures
lenses gulping in the light
in their own orchestra
edging its musicality with spectral colours
in what seems a visual play
of the jazz of improvisation.
as Kennedy’s re-working of autumn:
in the musicality of his Four Seasons,
gleaming with the forest light
leaves and bark,
too many grasses to ever count,
moving in the breeze,
opens that interplay
what is already known,
that ever impossible to grasp
unknowable world before our eyes.

Camera ready,
silence speaks to us,
screams out
with passion
with its pictures.

Not the obvious colours.
Not the beautiful images of this forest.
Not even any possible orchestra
Played out in the woodland.
Silence screams out
from the in-between
in our work:
we need this mystery
this art of the impossibility
this unknowing and unknowable world.
At the very heart
of this most exact and exacting
technological apparatus,
in that camera and its lenses,
there is revealed to us
the impossibility.
In its silence
it speaks without words
of the unknowable,
as vital to us,
to you and me,
vital, too,
to humanity at large.

Kevin Flint, September 2016

I look forward to hearing from you.