I lift my eyes to the hills,
from whence comes no help
from gods to temper the world’s ills.
And yet, although I see no saviour king
or holy angels,
there is something in those hills,
in this austere land, that consoles
and speaks of eternity,
something, I think, that comes from souls
of those who lived and died
and signed the landscape with their toil,
a signature of boundary walls
strung like scars across the slopes
of mountains almost old as time.
They built their hafods and their hendres,
stern faced chapels, endless drystone walls.
And men in whom the same blood runs
build still, build again the same walls
with the same stones when at last,
centuries having wreaked revenge,
the rocks slip sidelong and fall,
leaving gaping holes
where sheep flow, an undulating stream,
to pastures new .
They too have a patient and enduring
pattern of continuity that seems inbuilt;
Ewes teach lambs the lie of the land.
Generation after generation of sheep
have roamed among these rocks,
preserving a racial memory,
a living ancestry of flocks.
Perhaps there is something
Of that in me, a legacy willed
unknowingly by my Gran
who was London Welshand never saw these hills.