The lonely cottages endlessly wait
High in the screes of these ancient hills
Huddled by lakes as grey and still
As if they too were made of slate.
But the miners are gone and will never return
Who now would live and quarry these heights
Battling the cold of the icy nights
With only a few cut turfs to burn?
Who stood at this window? Did they enjoy
The mountains’ stern and lonely beauty?
Or did the grind of their arduous duty
Leave them too exhausted for joy?
Even gloved hands feel the chill of the stone
And I hurry back out to the wan winter sun.
More than time divides me, hiking here for fun,
From the long-ago miners who worked here alone.