Saturday, October 13, 2007

How calm, how constant are the hills,
How green and white and golden in the summer light.
Their lakes, their leaping wells are bright
With flower, leaf and rain.
And their profounder rivers run from rocks
That are the altars of the sun.

How calm, how constant are the hills.
Our time's dark gale of ice and fire
Thunders around them but removes them never.
No tempest overthrows their strong humility
They are both god and temple
And their stones are holy, the earth's enduring thrones.

How calm, how constant are the hills.

(Words by James Kirkup - set to music by John Ireland and discovered by me at choir practice on Tuesday).


Anonymous said...

**cough** John Ireland. ;-)

Elspeth said...

corrected - thank you!

Chris Shoebridge said...

What a fine discovery! It's a beautiful poem and Kirkup's reflection on the primaeval nature of landscape would certainly have stimulated Ireland. Ireland wrote this in his retirement, possibly his last work, and I know of no other secular piece for unaccompanied choir.