Above the valley and the lake
We look down from the silence
To the busyness and beauty below
A toy town of village cottages
On the lower slopes and
The lake like a puddle,
Miniature steamers plying its waters.
Sounds rise from below,
Shouts of children in the beck
Paddling and dam building in the summer sun.
And the hooting of the steamer as she leaves port
To sail the length of Ullswater.
But no traffic. Not here.
The trees occasionally obliterate the view
Like the frames on a triptych
Fringing the scene with foliage.
And all the while the shadows
Race across the hillsides,
Turning greens into purples
And back again as the cloud scapes
Weave across field and fell and crag.
From above, we marvel at the distance
And the depth of this poetic landscape,
Subject of Romanticists
And we feel the history of the place
Walking in the steps of Wainwright
But also Wordsworth, Southey
Coleridge and Lamb
And it is the lambs themselves
Whose sound punctuates
The high land: hauntingly plaintive.
We look down from above and
Feel like self-satisfied gods
Admiring our faultless handiwork
If you have never visited The Lake District of the UK, I thoroughly recommend it. There are still pockets of quiet and you can sometimes have a whole mountainside to yourself.
These were the hills traversed by the Lake Poets of the eighteenth century, Wordsworth and Coleridge the most famous. Whilst they concentrated their walks to the south of the lakes, they had a great appreciation of the whole district. Wainwright was a great fell walker of the last century, who wrote amazing guides to the walks there.