199 Steps

It is a challenge
I feel the need
to take each time I go;
(perhaps a man thing)

prove to myself
that despite
fifty years of smoking,
thirty years of drinking,
and twenty years of treatment
for high blood pressure,
I can still climb the steps
to Whitby Abbey.

I suspect Count Dracula
led a less than healthy lifestyle;
if he could do it, so can I.

Today, sixteenth March
two thousand and eleven,
I succeed again.

Several stops on the way,
not to rest you understand,
merely to enjoy the view.

There is satisfaction
as I stand at the top
look down over the harbour.

Time now, I think,
for another cigarette.



34 Responses to “199 Steps”

  1. lol….indeed a great piece brought a smile that last line in particular my friend

    • belfastdavid Says:

      🙂 Thank you Katherine,

      A cigarette is still a “reward” which I guess is one of the reasons smoking is still an active addiction

  2. Good for you, climbing all those horrid stairs! You must be in good shape ! 🙂 in spite of the nicotine habit.
    Getting down must be as exhausting as climbing up. No one ever speaks of the road back from the top somehow …?

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Ah now Ina, I don’t think those stairs are “horrid” I get such a sense of history as I climb them 🙂

      Getting down is exhausting too and I do feel inclined to hold on to the rail – it would be a long way to fall 🙂

  3. Seems we are always trying to prove that it is not yet time to put us out to pasture…

    • belfastdavid Says:

      My doctor says Michael that doing things at my age, when I really should know better, “is a man thing!” 🙂

  4. christine Says:

    And you say that I am incorrigible!!!!!!!!

    A greeat “you” poem, I love it.

    Lots of love



    • belfastdavid Says:

      🙂 I guess Christine the poem does give awaw quite a lot about who I am!!

      But at least climbing 199 steps makes more sense than trying to clamber up damp rocks – DUH!! 🙂

      Lots of love

  5. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    I enjoyed this poem,
    – it made me go and search for pictures of Whitby Abby, – to be able to share the view 🙂
    Well done both ways, – smoke and all 🙂

    Good to have you back!

    Vera & Karley

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Vera,

      I have a real sense of spiritual connection when I go to Whitby – it never fails to restore me every time I go.
      Although on some of the days I could have done with your woolly blanket to keep me warm 🙂

      Give Karley a pat for me


  6. You are on facebook? I will try and find. 🙂

  7. Purple Paul Says:

    Nice one, David! Though, as an ex-smoker, I don’t want to encourage that sort of thing! haha!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Paul,

      At least on the 199 steps I did not have to worry about alligators and snakes 🙂

  8. Elaine Randall English Says:

    Hush up…….you reprobate!

  9. Love this, David – simple, direct and with a lovely wry smile at the end; thank you for getting my day off to a great start!

    Like your 199 steps, I have certain hills round here that I use as ‘barometers’ of my cycling fitness; some of them are definitely getting longer and steeper as time goes on!

  10. The pictures are really terrific 🙂 Esp. the one of the graveyard in the mist.

  11. Love this one David. Keep up the good work and cut donw on the fags! LOL. Yes I can preach, 8 years clean!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      🙂 Thank you Res,

      I reduced my smoking by half last September but…………….

      Well done to you. I have great admiration for any long term smoker who can do it

  12. […] Belfastdavid’s Weblog – the blog of a poet. He has some great posts and links to his recordings. I especially like 199 Steps. […]

  13. Hi David,

    I’m sorry I haven’t been around. I am too slow for this online world when life takes a large chunk out of my time.
    That said I have really enjoyed this poem several times from my inbox.
    I can very much see you take each determined step as the view grows and expands in your vision.
    Whitby (from the photos I’ve seen 🙂 is a most magical place. It’s not the place to rush up or down stairs. Certainly though the place to stop and admire and catch your breath though. *cheeky grin*

    Thankyou for the smile. This poem certainly says a lot about your determination and stubborness. I have no doubt you’ll be climbling those steps for a few good years yet!

    I hope you have been well?

    • belfastdavid Says:

      *Big Smile*

      Thank you Tikarma,
      I am aware of how busy you are at the moment so am delighted you found the time to drop in. What with Jamie’s fortieth and a house move your life must be very full. I trust that both will be a great success.

      Your cheeky grin made me smile. My consolation is that there seemed to be a lot of people (most of them younger than me) stopping to admire the view on the way up 🙂

      I certainly hope to climb those steps many more times in the future 🙂

      As regards well, I am fine – just a case of following instructions from my doctor!!! I can do that 🙂

      I hope all you are doing at the moment works out to your satisfaction.


  14. *grin*

    We have Tallulah Gorge, where the steps must be a down journey, then climb back to the top–and there are considerably more of them! Going down is a lot faster than coming back up! But the scenery at the bottom is not visible from the lip of the gorge, and it is worth the effort. I have noticed that smokers do stop to admire the view a lot more often than the rest of us. 🙂

    I like your gentle sense of humor.

    Much love,

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Good to have you back Shirley,

      I hope you are rested and restored after you trip.
      I have seen your photographs of Tallulah Gorge – Beautiful – But I did think at the time that I might pass on the walk to the bottom and back!! 🙂

      And I am delighted you have recognised the benefit of being a smoker in that we take more time to admire the view *Grin*

      Much love

  15. 🙂 Now I have climbed those steps myself, twice even, I do know what you mean. Not only about the sense of history.

    I’ll go t’foot of our stairs! (Yorkshire dialect for I am very surprised, ) exactly what I was thinking when I found out I was able to do it. In spite of high bloodpressure, gout, etc 🙂 I do believe daily excersize must have done the trick! We must keep walking!

    Arohanui 🙂

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