Sunday, 29 August 2010

I Lift My Eyes To The Hill

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 Welsh

and never saw these hills.