Rain falls pure from the heavens
On the fell where ravens hail,
And gathers as the River Lune
At Ravenstonedale,
Then laughs and trills
In falls and rills
And innocently glides
Towards the foot of Borrowdale,
Where Romans killed or compromised.
Then youthful and exuberant,
Gorging mountains, downward flows,
Where trains dash
And cars crash,
And every day bloody the roads.
But pretty lies the prospect
Of green Lonsdale by the kirk,
And underneath the bridge that lies
Where Christians did the Devil’s work.
Then, hesitant and faltering,
Unsure of what’s to come,
Twist and turns
To plot a course back home.
But, drawn away inexorably,
Westward to the sea,
Where crooked destiny now leads
And creeps inevitably
Into the town where black clouds hung
And righteous hymns
To Him were sung,
Whilst all the time His traps were sprung
On Gallows Hill
Where witches swung.
A town where beggars still doss down
In the dark,
In the municipal park,
Deserted and doomed.
And past the quayside where slaves, festooned
With chains, in pain, stood,
Marooned in their new home,
Never to return to Sierra Leone,
Lost and alone.
Leave them all alone!
And rush down to the strand,
To the wet sand
Where plovers land,
And flee!
Far out into the Irish Sea!
And bathe in equanimity,
And drown!
Far, far away from people,
And from towns!