Where are the lost people

their hill forts vitrifying in the sun,
the small piles of rubble
cairns to their passing,
the ragged lines unable 
to attest to standing worth
and intent?  The hill is cold,
stone-littered, no fortification here
to keep out sheep, just a
sheer-drop escarpment, chosen
protection from unwelcome visitors.
Did their flares blow at night
from the corners of this height,
markers to surrounding hills, water, fields,
that this our place, is home
and as their children cried before
rough hearths in meagre huts,
sides packed with mud and heather,
wattle dressed with skins of deer, did
the wind caress their tongues,
cradle words and carry sounds
to me here as small
deposits in the palm like a
conch shell containing 
the voice of all those gone?
I hold it to my ear -
fingers of the wind find
chinks in which to blow
and leagues away the sea
plunges at the shore, whispers
in my hand the silent voice
of land once inhabited
and people splayed before the sun.
Collected Works
Return to Collections all
next poem