Wilderness 2001, 2021
a land wraithed in smoke and the stink of death
man's determination dulled by desperation and
the hollow, guilty hope that the creeping fate might end
at a neighbour's door.
You cannot farm in the present
At least not in Wales.
The hills were silent memorials to herds brought low,
Uncropped: a tragedy of grass grown longer than memory could ever tell;
In the yards, and at the hearth, silence bears witness
To the end of all that generations have bequeathed.
It is ended; how can life - and history - be raised anew?
Leave it, leave it...
Who, but the farmer, would start again?
Even in richer English valleys life lies low,
Depressed by death and loss.
In Wales, where wealth is tenured only in the land,
There will be no rural rebirth, no future.
We have farmed our subsidies too long,
Know they will not crop again.
Stranded without heed or hope or help:
There is no present in farming
And can be no future.
Our hills are the burden left by a lost Europe.
To live in Wales is to be conscious
At our dusk only of the lost causes
That our wild sky could not embrace.