How Green Was My Valley

by Richard Llewellyn

My father moved his head, and I looked down at him, sideways to me, and tried to think what I could do to ease him, only for him to have a breath.
But the Earth bore down in mightiness, and above the Earth, I thought of houses sitting in quiet under the sun, and men roaming the streets to lose voice, breath, and blood, and children dancing in play, and women cleaning house, and good smells in our kitchen, all of them adding more to my father’s counterpane. There is patience in the Earth to allow us to go into her, and dig, and hurt with tunnels and shafts, and if we put back the flesh we have torn from her and so make good what we have weakened, she is content to let us bleed her. But when we take, and leave her weak where we have taken, she has a soreness, and an anger that we should be so cruel to her and so thoughtless of her comfort. So she waits for us, and finding us, bears down, and bearing down, makes us a part of her, flesh of her flesh, with our clay in place of the clay we thoughtlessly have shovelled away.

How Green Was My Valley
Richard Llewellyn

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