Beyond the Roaches

by Roger Hill

Go to the moors at the edge of the night
When the sky is gored with the death of the light,
And dark in the valley, the brooding trees
Throb to the tide of a soundless breeze.
Move past the fields where the sheep are stone
And the misty paleness chills to the bone,
And follow the road where the wild rocks lie
Heaped and huge against the sky –
Up to where, in the day’s last glow
The crows on their crooked wings are slow,
And the beautiful shining globeflowers glow
With butter-bright yellow mid cotton grass snow.
Wait for the strange and soundless owl
To ghost hard by where the great black fowl
Strut in a wild deep lekin rite,
Old when the Druids passed to fight;
And the March hares craze, and the curlews’ thrill
Bubbles from every valley and hill…
Aye – go to the moors when life grows bare,
For the ageless pulse of the wild is there!


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picI have written poetry, on and off, for much of my life, especially after my retirement in 2004. I have always believed that poetry should be a craft as well as an art, and so although I write various types of poetry, I feel happiest with the more traditional forms.

I heard about the Staffordshire Poetry Collection by chance and felt that “Beyond the Roaches” might be a suitable contribution. Living at Cheddleton, I am often able to visit the area, and its wild beauty is always an inspiration. Like so many other special places in the county, it it also has great natural history value – something I was much concerned with during my many years as County Ecologist.

In many ways, poetry and nature seem to fit well together: after all, many of the much-loved poems we learned as children are nature poems, and if poetry can help to increase awareness of the crucial value of our diminishing natural resource, so much the better. Nature has never needed friends as much as it does today. – Roger