The Stanza Stones project began at Ilkley literature festival in 2010 and there are now seven stanza stones out in the landscape each carved with a poem by Simon Armitage, a local poet who has achieved national recognition. It is a wonderful idea and each poem reflects the natural landscape surrounding it in a way that is both appropriate and surprising. The best compliment that I can pay the Snow Stone, the one which I visited on the late morning of the third of February 2014, is that it looks as though it has always been there. It has now weathered into its site and become a part of the landscape which it describes. It will grow and change as the years pass and eventually, if it is to be preserved, it will need care and attention to keep it visible and readable in just the same way as the ancient white horse figures carved into some of our hillsides do. I find that idea quite moving. It will gain resonance and dignity as time passes.
You may have noticed that I have described exactly when I saw it. That is because visiting it is like a small pilgrimage. Even when you have seen photographs of it you still have to find it for yourself, tucked away in a secret spot on Pule Hill sheltered above the A62. When you do find it you come face to face with a beautiful poem, simple and direct, well worth its place. It describes the effects of the snow, its beauty and its eerie other worldly quality. It asks you to think about the mysterious quality of the transformation of water into something sharp which stars may snag on and it ends with a beautiful image of the snow weeping as it melts.