Wessenden Moor

Come Back

We meet for breakfast
cramped in the confines of the car.
Fried egg butty
and a flask of tea,
shared over a view of Wessenden
and the shrine to lost children
who lie deep in the peat

The wind flaps at withered flowers
as we gaze out over the moor.
How easily this landscape
absorbs the years of tears and searching,
moulding itself to the bodies,
covering the tracks of those
who know its secret places,
revealing nothing.

We head north along the Pennine Way.
The track, well-worn and lonely,
leads us down
past reservoir and clough,
followed only by the grouse’s harsh ‘go back’.

Or is it a child’s cry
that catches in the breeze?
“I am here
beneath your feet.
Don’t leave me,
come back, come back.”

Sally Brown

Myra Hindley and Ian Brady murdered five children aged between 10 and 17 in the mid 1960s and buried their victims in shallow graves dug on Saddleworth Moor above Wessenden.  The grave of one victim, Keith Bennett, has never been discovered and, to this day, there is a shrine of withered flowers and sometimes teddy bears tied to the fence overlooking Wessenden Reservoir.


If you have any comments on this poem,  Sally Brown  would be pleased to hear from you.