A hundred years I have stood
Looking out over those dark hills …
A hundred years I have seen them come
From child to man, down those stiffened slopes:
I have stretched my hand to grasp their fears
Soothed their sorrows, heard their grief
All their whispered words of hope, like silent encrustations –
Hang along my darkened walls.
For I am mother, seer and friend
And silent guardian of their fate,
My face turned towards the rising sun of time
And the growing prosperity of their race.
I note their rise. I mark their growth with pride.
But at my back the rolling years of pain are filed
That stretch in searing contour to a distant fast
For I am come of hunger, pain and great sacrifice,
Forcepted into being from famine’s womb.
The tortured seed Of countless generations gave me birth
Their faith, the cradle of my dreams.
Tonight, listen to my words
You who would be wise; mark my people
As they strove this barren land
Scratching dreams from broken hills
That stand in silent witness to their fate.
Mark them well as they struggle
Towards their distant hope – for they are you
Flung out along the quick of time – one century of pain removed.