The secret of these hills was stone, and cottages
Of that stone made,
And crumbling roads
That turned on sudden hidden villages
Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete
That trails black wire
Pylons, those pillars
Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret.
The valley with its gilt and evening look
And the green chestnut
Of customary root,
Are mocked dry like the parched bed of a brook.
But far above and far as sight endures
Like whips of anger
With lightning's danger
There runs the quick perspective of the future.
This dwarfs our emerald country by its trek
So tall with prophecy
Dreaming of cities
Where often clouds shall lean their swan-white neck.
from New Collected Poems (Faber, 2004), by permission of Ed Victor Ltd for the Estate of Stephen Spender. Recordings used by permission of the BBC.