Owen Sheers
Lleder Valley, North Wales

Don't try to learn this place
in the pages of a history
but go instead up to the
disused quarry

where the water lies still
and black as oil
and the only chiselling
is that of the blackbird's song

drilling its notes
into the hillside's soil.

And there, beside the falls of moss,
pick yourself a blade of slate
long as your arm, rusted,
metallic in sound.

Tap it with your heel,
then with your fingertips
at its leaves, gently
prise it apart.

And see how it becomes
a book of slate
in which you can read
a story of stone -
one that's written
throughout this valley.

in every head, across every heart
and down the marrow of every bone.