Thursday, 25 November 2010
The Old Man of the Hills
The old man of the heather clad hills,
Sat in silence atop a tumbled cairn,
Gazing as an golden eagle upon a crag,
Watching the flock frolic in the fields,
Lambs high leaping and happy bleating,
Amidst a west driving wind and its hail,
As for an instant I saw him, as he truly is.
Old as the land itself, yet still in youth,
With slate gray eyes, as slits in rain,
A blackberry bush beard and bristles,
Sharp as snag thorns upon the briars,
Wind snarled hair, knot as brambles,
Skin snow white as the fell in winter,
And shoulders broad as a bullocks back.
His hands seemed hewn from solid rock,
Yet delicate as they curled his crook,
Bloody with the harvest, a hunters grip,
Bible worn fingertips, as smooth as paper,
A face of sun worn leather, dry rasped,
By the tines of a rusty plough as a razor,
That strips the tufts of stubble in Autumn.
Steel cable as sinews flexed in his forearms,
Electric lines and pylons, buzzing with power,
Sinuous stone walls were his veins and tendons,
A heart as wild as streams in spring melt,
Each artery of his railway and roads revealing,
The lonely pathway that leads into the dales,
Where city folk will walk, but few dare to dwell.