I was inspired to write this poem during October 2014, following a walk on the moor with my father and a drive home past Bellever and Princetown. The ballad tells the apocryphal tale of a prisoner who escapes Dartmoor Prison and attempts to seek refuge in the rocks atop the tor…
I appreciate that the style of the poem (in particular the knowingly-contrived wordplay!) may not be to everyone’s taste, but am happy for you to decide whether this submission might be of interest to readers of your online “Dartmoor Verse” collection – Paul Mann (October 2014).
The Ballad of Bellever Tor
Bellever Tor is a helluva tor,
It’s a rip-snortin’, ca-vortin’ swell-of-a-tor
And if, as I live, I heard tell-of-a-tor
The words I inferred would be “Bellever Tor”.
Take flight, moonless night, Dart o’er the moor,
Clown Prince o’ Prince-town, confoundin’ the law,
Back-track to black, an abyss I explore
To consume the cocoon atop Bellever Tor.
Bellever Tor’s a gaol-cell-of-a-tor,
It’s a honed, naked-boned “au naturel”-of-a-tor,
To hide safe inside this bare shell-of-a-tor
The muse I will choose shall be Bellever Tor.
The siren ’n’ firin’ are high’n the moor,
Surround-sound o’ hounds echo Baskerville’s roar,
I’m hunted, confronted, no weapon to draw;
I crumble, and stumble from Bellever Tor.
Bellever Tor’s a death-knell-of-a-tor,
It’s a putrefied, stupefied smell-of-a-tor,
Forsakin’ my maker I fell-of’-a-tor
To sleep wi’ the reaper ’neath Bellever Tor.
Whenever you weather that road, I implore:
Don’t roam o’er stones that darken death’s door,
For locked in those rocks is a pris’ner o’ yore;
The free-fallin’ phantom of Bellever Tor.