Reaching out in unending lines
Houses of the valleys, all the same
In their uniform of dereliction and decay
Clinging on to the hillside, like old people
Clinging on to the old way of life.
Smoke rises from the chimneys
Catching the last fading sunlight
of the promising summer of plenty,
Falling soon to the sills in black sooty smuts
Where sometimes people sit and stare.
The empty streets echo in the silence
of tack boots on the cobblestones,
Black windows stare at me with accusation
Betrayal screams at you with her evidence
in the houses of the valleys.
By Ann Hughes (1992)
slate skies still gloomed
the slanting fields,
but timid pink smiled faintly
between the clouds.
catched to the hill’s green cant,
stirred in the mellowing air,
and misty pastures corsetted
by cattle-keeping walls,
appeared to meditate
upon their coming colours.
Deep in the valley’s throat
a tipsy tractor undulated,
loudly blue, defiant
against the earth’s brown quiet.
a whirr of pigeons
in arrowed flight,
climbed then dived
into the valley’s side,
melting in the solvency of trees
like the easing of a pain.
I trod the meadow’s ooze,
feeling the muscling turf
beneath my feet; then,
welcoming the simplifying air,
I took my first firm step
from the winter of your going.
by Vic Rees