Lislea Church


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.

Hugh Murphy