I never went back there. I didn’t see the point in returning to a fight I did not choose, under terms to which I never agreed. And I still refuse to use my precious words to defend my actions.

If you spend enough time in a landscape where the earth is never dry it eventually gets inside your mind.

The sky draws its crimson veil at the far end of the street, and buildings cast shadows on buildings.

In any case, what would I have done? Would I have encountered old faces? Their shabby husks walking the streets like ghosts of their younger selves? Streets truncated by time’s indifferent/indiscriminate scissor. Abbreviated, they float in a squally sea of context.

I’m not sorry that I don’t walk backwards.

The rain falls heavy in woodcut blocks of Prussian blue and Slate grey, and we can all trace that coastline from the Blyth to St. Abbs.

They told me I could go away, but that I would never be able to leave. The swirling mists of the Cheviots, and the spring of peat under foot would draw me back, they said. I did not ask for this rain, and after all this time do you really believe that the earth expected anything of me?

From a far enough distance everything looks blue.

Even blue is optimistic now.

Rain falls on cold stone.

Even if I’d stayed I’d have left.