About ten years ago I started writing a reworking of Dylan Thomas’ play for voices, Under Milk Wood. Setting my play in the village of my childhood, it was called Under Lyth Hill, and featured the Shropshire people I knew and loved when I was girl.
Central to Thomas’ brilliant play were two beautifully written prayer poems, recited by Rev. Eli Jenkins. In Under Lyth Hill, the village priest became wannabe trendy vicar, Rev. Freddie Brown.
Morning Prayer Dear Lord, I know there are Villages lovelier than ours, Hills more majestic and towering, And plants more beautifully flowering, Woods more full of earthly delight, And more fantastical birds taking flight, And better lyricists than I to sing A song to greet another glorious morning.
By Caer Caradoc’s rocky outcrop,
Or the Lawley’s bold glory,
Hawk, Swift and Swallow swoop and drop,
To hear Stretton’s long old story.
On the Long Mynd and Burway Pass
Heights are measured in anxious minutes passed,
Waiting for a slip and fall so far from home,
And death to call when accident comes to those alone.
Lyth Hill seems so small in their shadow,
So small in scale and lacking in majesty,
Yet it never fails to reveal all and show
All of the Shropshire that I love to see.
Wrekin and distant Wenlock Edge are there,
The purple coloured Strettons, bleak and bare,
Bayston Hill, Ryton, Frodesley, Dorrington,
Berriewood and Allfield, Cantlop and Cardington.
This village, nestled in its valley wide,
Open to the big, big sky,
Is where I long to live and love and die,
Hear my prayer, Lord, hear my cry.
Every morning, when light arrives in our patch of heaven,
Dear Lord, of brook and mighty Severn,
I ask just one thing for all in Lyth Hill’s shadow,
That You lead us where You would bid us go.
And at every slow dusk when blinds are drawn down,
And the hill glows orange with the lights of Shrewsbury town,
I call you again to bless all that dwell here in this lovely land,
And to shelter and protect us with Your mighty hand.
Dear Lord, we don’t always get things right,
We make mistakes that wake us up at night,
So give us strength to live as You would do,
To be fearless, sharing, loving, giving, true.
Oh guide us through another night!
Bid Your angels and archangels to take flight,
And watch o’er us as we sleep,
And forever in Your loving arms, our lonely souls keep.
Keep well, keep well, and may your God go with you, one and all x