Tuesday, October 03, 2006

At Lanyon Quoit

Look not softly,
Stranger, upon this Stone Age scene,
Nor let remoteness
Disguise where living men have been
In grief and laughter.
Though all’s now hushed and gaunt and harsh,
You are standing where humanity once stood.
These stones seal a sepulchre
For your own flesh and blood.

Here lie our forebears,
Though their memorials have no name.
How should we know them,
If from the grave these tribesmen came?
What was their language?
No echo in the southwest wind
Recalls one word one single warrior said.
Ravaged granite stays to mark
The lost unlettered dead.

Here lie their women,
Short-lived mothers of chance-reared young.
The artless lullabies
This Cornish hillside once heard sung,
Their mourners’ dirges,
Are as soundless to this world’s ears
As to the deaf that skylark’s note above.
Cold silence grips their converse
And all their songs of love.

Arthur Caddick (1911-1987)

1 comment:

Littlestone said...

Thanks to chris s on TMA for drawing my attention to this one.