We arrived at the Hebden Bridge train station: On our side – flowers and yellow bricks, on the other side- a wall of trees. Overall, there was an aura of dreamlike atemporality.
Remember “Life on a train platform” by Octavian Paler. Remember that Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath graced the valleys of this town with their presence. Sylvia Plath: enrapturing writer, with a devouring lyricism wrapped around her being. I still have to finish her Unabridged Journals, having started reading them at Essex.
They buried her in the small village of Heptonstall, not far away from Hebden Bridge. As expected, Heptonstall is my future destination, together with The Brontës’ moors. Yorkshire nature, with its trails of whispers, is full of literary references, and exploring it is a wonderful experience, bleak at times, but wonderful nonetheless.
Sitting at the Stubbing Wharf, a pub from Hebden Bridge with Plath, Hughes writes his reflections in the eponymous poem from Birthday Letters:
“This gloomy memorial of a valley,
The fallen-in grave of its history,
A gorge of ruined mills and abandoned chapels,
The fouled nest of the Industrial Revolution
That had flown.” – Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters
Plath writes about the Bronte Moors:
“There is no life higher than the grasstops
Or the hearts of sheep, and the wind
Pours by like destiny, bending
Everything in one direction.[…]
The sheep know where they are,
Browsing in their dirty wool-clouds,
Grey as the weather.[…]
I come to wheel ruts, and water
Limpid as the solitudes
That flee through my fingers.
Hollow doorsteps go from grass to grass;
Lintel and sill have unhinged themselves.
Of people the air only
Remembers a few odd syllables.
It rehearses them moaningly:
Black stone, black stone.
The sky leans on me, me, the one upright
Among the horizontals.
The grass is beating its head distractedly.
It is too delicate
For a life in such company;
Darkness terrifies it.
Now, in valleys narrow
And black as purses, the house lights
Gleam like small change.” – Sylvia Plath, Wuthering Heights