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Moorland Verse

Moorland Verse

The Moorland

It is dawn upon the Moorlands, and the shadows of the night

Through the deep and silent valleys steal before the morning light ;

Over yonder hill-top rises like a burning shield the sun

Slowly wakes the grim old desert, and a new day has begun.

All unseen a soaring songster pours her sweet and happy lay,

Making music with the streamlet that goes singing on its way.

Singing joyously, and laughing, when the sunbeams chase the mist

That has veiled it from the morning, and too long its bosom kissed.

It is noontide on the Moorlands, but upon no thirsty land

Shines the sun from skies unclouded; by the gentle breeze fanned

Ancient hills invite the wand’rer, and a thousand brooklets flow

Down their sides, in hast to render tribute to the streams below.

Silent all, save when rushes whisper as the winds pass by,

Answered by the murm’ring waters, and the lonely curlew’s cry ;

Yet another voice we list to, but it speaks without a sound

From within it comes, and tells us freedom breathes in all around.

It is evening on the Moorlands, and the deepening shadows creep

Through the lonely combes, and slowly climb the heather-covered steep,

In the west a dying radiance marks the pathway to the sun,

Speaks of its departed glory, tells us that the day is done.

Ended now the streams’ sweet singing – e’er their songs at evening die –

Ceased the whispering of the rushes as they list the night wind’s sigh,

Heard no more the desert music, every bird has sought its nest,

O’er the fells a holy calmness waits upon the hour of rest.

It is night upon the Moorlands; rising in the starry dome

Is the Lesser Light and Ruler that shall guide the wand’rer home ;

Not alone her lamp is lighted in the sky, for see a gleam

Midst the shadows of the valley quivers on the rippling stream.

Lo, the darkness falls not on us, and the pure and brilliant light

Speaks to us of that far country where there never shall be night ;

Resting over all the spirit, by the angels ever sung,

That upon the waste of waters brooded when the world was young.

The above lines appear in William Crossing’s book – Gems in a granite setting and as there is no mention of the author I can only presume that he himself penned the poem. But anyone who has spend from the first ray of sun to the first beam of moon on the moor can relate to his words. To me the best times on the moor are at first light and at dusk, both hold a special atmosphere. At dawn there is a sense of everything preparing for the day ahead and taking the last opportunity of peace. At dusk you can nearly hear a sigh of relief that everyone has gone home and the moor is left to a tranquil and private night. The time in-between these periods is now a busy, bustling time as people tramp and trundle across the wastes. Long gone is the time when you could walk all day without meeting living soul and if you did a short detour meant you never actually met

These word were written by someone who knew the long lost solitude and silence with only the sounds of nature to commune with. Today you are more likely to visit a remote, “ancient hill’ and on arrival be greeting by someone squawking into a mobile phone in order to tell a love one that they had reached wherever – that is if they know wherever is?


About Tim Sandles

Tim Sandles is the founder of Legendary Dartmoor

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