Hero on Hills, Tramp in Towns

Lonely and wet, pack on back,
Down from the brooding mountains,
The narrow winding road takes me past
The frilly-curtained lit window
Of a slate-stoned alehouse; peering in,
Water trickling down my neck,
Feeling in pockets, misty-eyed
Through steamed-up glasses,
My feet soaked, penniless,
I ponder awhile, but know my night
Is in no vacancy above, warm
In pressed sheets, girl at my side.
I turn away, longing for love,
A companion to lighten the load,
The money to call it a day,
To stay and change my plans.


Tightly crowded lilies of the valley
Huddle together in a sodden
Wooden windowbox green with slime;
A tiny white bell drops,
Is carried along the sill’s slipstream
Joining water pouring from eaves
Gushing down the road into drains;
Chattering hikers are coming up
Behind, to make it to the inn.
Like a vagrant caught admiring
A world in which he does not belong,
I am already torn away.


The pine forest rises up before me
Dark and foreboding, the hour grows late
For seeking shelter.
I pray the rain lets up, the clouds part,
And sun streams through.
Climbing higher a solitary bird in the woods
Starts its song afresh as the downpour eases.
I breathe in the bathed earth’s vapours,
Cedar resin wafts on humid draughts.
Pulling clear of the forest slopes below
Homely smoke rises from farmhouse chimneys,
I do not begrudge them their worlds.
The sun steams me dry up on a hilltop
Sitting on granite surveying the scene.
My world again complete, loneliness is,
I forget, just a part of it.