Waxing boots

I break the yellowed beeswax crust,
like muddied ice on moorland paths;
and fingers gather stubborn lumps,
which cling, like peat.

Roughened leather, weather-washed;
these boots have waited on the shelf –
two children, mortgages and jobs –
three decades since

first making fearless tracks through bogs.
I’ll start with rigid toes: scarred, scuffed,
consuming wax, and gritstone-hard
like Froggatt Edge.

Yellow runnels form, working back,
like sheep paths up on Kinder Scout,
but warm and fade to firming hands –
my fingers sting

from friction rather than raw cold;
and pleasures of secret valleys,
days’ ends and pack-less walks to pubs
awake again

as fingertips, now numb, relax
on yielding, loosened tongues; enjoy
eyelets and subtle seams, still etched
with nineties’ wax.

This scent is history and mud,
tired colours deepening like love –
massaged boots becoming landscapes;
laces, snow-waxed hills.


Froggatt Edge and Kinder Scout (pronounced with a  short ‘i’, like in India) are hills in Derbyshire, UK, near where I grew up. I used to do a lot of hill walking in my late teens and early 20s.

Posted at dVerse.