Friday, December 18, 2015


Some years ago I attended a wonderful creative writing workshop led by the poet Char March, where I bought a postcard printed with her poem, Ridge Walking. At that time a very good friend of mine was being treated for lymphoma, and it was as if the poem had been written about her, and her whole way of being. I sent it to her, and when I went to visit, she’d stuck the poem on her wall.

She died in 2006. There’s a dedication to her in Plotting for Beginners, published the same year. Her funeral was short, but a lot of people spoke at the celebration of her life, including me. I planned to talk about her and then to read the poem. It turned out that two other people had the same idea. They must have seen the poem pinned on her wall and thought it captured her.

Here is what I think of as Chrissie's poem, published with kind permission of the poet:

Ridge Walking

is my life
out here on the edge

windy here
-a narrow ridge

often I am scared
have to squeeze my eyes shut
hug myself to the rock
crawl along on all fours
mumbling mantras

but sometimes I dance the thin line
whirling in the sun
shouting in an arms-up
head-back laugh

this is my life out here
a slim chance
with steep drops on either side
but Christ the views
are bloody marvellous.

© Char March    Ridge walking is published by Indigo Dreams in Char March’s latest poetry collection The Thousand Natural Shocks  and is available direct from her, or through Amazon.

This morning I was lying in bed thinking about my life this year, and Ridge Walking came into my head, though it doesn't describe me or my life. 

But it made me wonder whether there is a poem that does, and whether a clutch of people who know me might all agree on one, the way we did for Chrissie. 

I don't think it's likely.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder Sue.
Those head-back laughs were the best.

Sue Hepworth said...

I so wish I had recorded one.

Christine said...

I think there is a poem for you, though I don't know which one. I'll know it when I see it.