Across a river
Up a stair of stony treads
Past heather and rowan,
dripping bracken and Herdwick sheep.
More steps, more path, more rocks,
into the mist as the wind rises,
pushing us on, from cairn to cairn,
to the top at last, up in the howling cloud,
where relentless wind scours the boulder field.
We must be mad –
like all the others who grin grimly through the rain as they slog up and up
the highest peak in England,
and gladly down again,
grateful to the cairn-builders and the step-layers,
who were there before us.