Landscape


For a countryman the living landscape is
a map of kinship at one level,
at another, just below this, a chart of use,
never at any level a fine view:
sky is a handbook of labour or idleness;
wind in one airt is the lapping of hay,
in another a long day at turf on the moss;
landscape is families, and a lone man
boiling a small pot, and letters once a year;
it is also, underpinning this, good corn
and summer grazing for sheep free of scab
and fallow acres waiting for the ling.
So talk of weather is also talk of life,
and life is man and place and these have names.


airt: point of the compass; lapping: rolling into bundles


John Hewitt, Collected Poems, Blackstaff Press, 1991.