Marsden Jazz Festival
Jazz In The Yorkshire Pennines
Pennine landscape


The landscape of the Marsden Jazz Festival


The landscape of the Marsden Jazz Festival

In 2010, the Ilkley Literature Festival commissioned leading UK poet, Simon Armitage, to create a series of poems responding to the landscape of the Pennine Watershed.

These poems were then carved into rock at six atmospheric locations along the Watershed from Marsden to Ilkley.

All of the poems celebrate or pay their respects to the elements which gave shape and form to the region, namely water. The water that sculpted the valleys and powered the industries.

The Snow Stone, the first to be carved, is situated in an old quarry on Pule Hill above the village of Marsden where Simon was born and grew up.

Many people visiting the Marsden Jazz Festival comment on the beauty of the landscape and value the opportunity of taking a walk or drive through the Pennine landscape whilst visiting the festival.

Simon has kindly allowed us to reproduce his poem Snow below. If you would like to take a walk to see this poem carved into rock at Pule Hill for yourself, you can download a copy of the Stanza Stones poetry trail from ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk


The sky has delivered
its blank missive.
The moor in coma.
Snow, like water asleep,
a coded muteness
to baffle all noise,
to stall movement,
still time.
What can it mean
that colourless water
can dream
such depth of white?
We should make the most
of the light.

Stars snag
on its crystal points.
The odd, unnatural pheasant
struts and slides.
Snow, snow, snow
is how the snow speaks,
is how its clean page reads.
Then it wakes, and thaws
and weeps.

Simon Armitage

With thanks to Simon Armitage for his permission to reproduce his poem, Snow.
Stanza Stones is a collaboration between imove, Ilkley Literature Festival, Simon Armitage and Pennine Prospects