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Bellever Ballad

Bellever Ballad

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.

About Tim Sandles

Tim Sandles is the founder of Legendary Dartmoor

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