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Truth, Justice, and the Companionship of Owls by Peter Riley

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The Upper Calder Valley, in the westernmost part of Yorkshire, is a landscape of high moors, small farms and wooded hillsides, rising steeply from the market towns situated along the valley. It is the setting for many of the poems in Truth, Justice, and the Companionship of Owls, in which the conditions of movement (of buses, trains, water and wind) are set against the conditions of stillness (the ‘abandoned chapels’ and ‘demolished mills’ that persist at the edges of settlements). While there is disquiet in these ‘dark distances’, haunted by legacies and prospects of ‘human harm’, there is also trust, belief, connection, the ‘night music’ of the moorland, the ideas of truth and justice, ‘the stone paths strung over the hills’.

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