The land wrote itself before any
came to chart it: continents broke
and reassembled; two masses crashed
and threw a mountain range, a border
waiting for customs posts; glaciers cut
narrow valleys, close and separate,
each shuttered cautiously from its neighbour.
A coast curved itself into a haven
for shipping; a hill kept watch
on the landscape till the fort was built.
A river spread rich gentle living
over these fields; elsewhere, the want
of water made the contours stand out
like starved bones.
And when it was all ready
they came, at last, to be masters
of it all; to take up the lives
mapped out for them.
Sheenagh Pugh, Selected Poems, Seren Books, 1990.