South from Whitby

Outside Fylingthorpe
we start to climb
away from the sea

The bus shudders through tight corners
hunching its shoulders,
brushing the sideburn hedges,
dislodging leaves and branches,
creaking down through the gears
as if straining from ledge to ledge
by its fingertips

then hauling itself up
on to the moor
with the failing shreds of its energy

and we look back
toward the black skeleton of the abbey,
the bare bones of the day,
distant harbours

Ahead, bright evening September sun
blinds us in the smudges of the screen,
and the destination board rattles
as if uncertain

We head for the future anyway,
and the road continues to plunge and climb
past woodland for sale,
yellow paths,
the heights of Ravenscar,
the depths of Boggle’s Hole

And then we slip into Scarborough,
where we alight in a cooling wind,
and you congratulate the driver
on getting us up the hill
out of the bay

Ah, he says,
I were a bit worried about the brakes,
once or twice