Magnificat for Northumberland
For there are more sheep than people.
For rush hour on our road is two Land Rovers, three cars and a tractor.
For the sunrises and sunsets are brilliant.
For the beaches are long and empty and the sea is cold and wild.
For on the moors the heather is bright and the bracken fired-gold.
For its rivers have salmon, swans and otters.
For you can hear the ghostly tramp of the Roman Legions on the Devil’s Causeway.
For the towns have streets named Hide Hill, Foul Ford and Silver Street and there are farms called Unthank and Whistle Bare, Bite About and Make-me-rich.
For there is a buzzard that attacks joggers on the Dipper road and woodpeckers and herons visit the garden.
For there are henges, cup-and-ring markings, abbeys, a Holy Island, hermits’ caves.
For when there are clouds they are heaped like great castles in the air and on the ground there are great castles of stone.
For it has in-your-face weather: horizontal rain, howling gales, long days of sunshine, swirling snow, calm days in a dozen shades of grey and a capacity for unexpected change.
For it is a forgotten county.
For wild geese drop down to feed on frosty fields.
For the skies are the widest in Britain and the stars the brightest.
For here I can live a life so quiet as to be almost inaudible.
For it is the county of my birth.
For it is beautiful.