Saturday, 16 June 2012


Platform at Haworth station:
Her quest begins...

Crowded with tourists today.
Searching the faces:
a worldful of races;
every colour and creed,
size and shape of human being.
Seeking one, unique, distinctive;
dark, glowering countenance.
Emily's seductive, yet diabolical
literary creation.

He fits the description.
Tall, muscular, athletic build,
black hair; devil's eyes.
Has to be him!
Keeping safe distance,
mouse stalks the lion.

The moor.
He's heading for the moor.
Surely, this is him.
He'll be going home...
to find Cathy - or perhaps to hang
a litter of puppies
from the back of a chair.

Bravely catching him up.
No. An Italian accent,
not the broad Yorkshire
with a dash of Scouse
she so desperately wanted to hear.

Nor, after arduous climb
up steep moorland path,
is he at Top Withins.

Only three women here,
and half-a-dozen sheep.

Back down winding path
to Wycoller Hall.

He's bound to be there.
He'll have gone to settle
that old score with Edgar Linton.

Not here either. Just
a coachload of Japanese tourists,
a handful of Germans and a party
of French schoolgirls.

What now?
Running out of ideas.
Time to consult her 'bible',
a dog-eared copy of  Wuthering Heights.
Of course - Cathy's grave!
He's sure to be there.

Scouring ordnance survey map
for likely location.
There it is!
Small disused Georgian cemetery
bordering lonely Heptonstall moor.
A long stretch on foot, but
she may just make it before dark.

Daylight beginning to fade
as she reaches the summit
of rocky hillock.
There, just below her, ancient gravestones:
leaning like crooked, discoloured teeth.
And he's there!
Dressed in black, on his knees;
placing flowers on a grave.

Such long-awaited moment
brings unexpected terrors.
Heart pounding audibly,
she's tempted to run away.
'No. You've come this far!' she screams at herself,
silently inside her head.

A sharp intake of breath.
Then approaching him gingerly
from behind.
A trembling hand
taps him on the shoulder.
'Excuse me,' she begins,
without the slightest idea
of what to say next.

He stands up, turning to face her.
Not a trace of cruel, sadistic passion
in those soft brown eyes.
Nor in his warm smile.
'Hi, don't suppose you're
tracing your ancestors too, are you?'
He's decidedly friendly,
his accent unmistakably southern.
And she's bitterly disappointed.

But beyond the veil,
Emily Bronte smiles.


  1. I've never read Wuthering Heights but your piece today had me researching it and its places. Are you the one of the quest?

    1. Have to admit, I watched the film before reading the book, but I've been facinated ever since!
      Emily's characters are incredibly irresistible.
      I have visited the Bronte museum in Haworth, and walked the 'Bronte walk' across the moor, where I found Top Withins (Emily's model for Wuthering Heights) and Wycoller Hall (Thrushcross Grange).

      So, I suppose I must be considered a quester!! :)

  2. Superb! It does full justice to Wuthering Heights - and I can think of no higher praise than that. A wonderful achievement - and I envy you your walk across the moors. Maybe one day... I shall have to read this again.

    1. Indeed there is no higher praise than that - and I thank you so much.
      That walk is well worth the effort. The breathtaking views aside, it is a wonderful feeling to know that one is walking in the great Emily Bronte's footsteps.
      I certainly intend to repeat it as soon as I have time :)

  3. This is just brilliant, so cerebral and fangirl-ish at the same time, my favorite type of homage. You must write a similar piece about Tess of the Dúrbevilles, another equally haunting book. And please link here if there are any others you've already written.

    1. Many thanks, IcyHighs.
      Unfortunately, I haven't read Tess of the Durbevilles yet. Perhaps I will now though!
      This is my first attempt to write about a novel. I chose Wuthering Heights because it has haunted me ever since I first saw the film :)

    2. Poetry is whatever becomes a part of you to the point that you and it are inseparable. Like this piece.

  4. Thank you Daniel.
    I know exactly what you mean. I find it virtually impossible to write a poem on a subject that I don't fully identify with. If I don't feel it, then I can't write it:)

  5. But beyond the veil Emily Bronte smiles! I am sure she is smiling. A wonderful composition Ygraine! A favourite read of mine:)

    1. Rose, I am so happy to have found a fellow lover of Wuthering Heights!
      I saw the film (the 1970 one) and fell completely under it's spell. Since then, I have read the book (many times!) and seen the earlier film.

      My visit to the Bronte Museum and the surrounding moors was a truly amazing experience.
      I simply MUST return there one day :)


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