Sunset over Heads Lane ridge, Bolsterstone, South Yorkshire, England

           The Brigand


             I only wished to start a new one.


             May this be home? Millstone grit and heather?

               Undulating pastures and drystack fences?

               The dales once ruled by the Brigantes?

               A place this ancient—where days glide by so slow

               and human presence is not a fundamental trait—

               surely wrings my deepest strings.

               Lost in it, on my own, carrying nothing,

               and nothing loaded on my mind—

               it looks, sounds and smells

               like I had always been part of it.

               Everything fits just right, and I feel good.

               Like I had been treading these moors

               and my thoughts ascending these ridges—

               to see what runs away beyond the hilltops—

               since the very moment I was born.

               Still, it is when the light abates

               and cloudbanks slither down to cloak the slopes—

               emulating lowland fog—

               when the lines of trees fade on the horizon

               and silence appropriates each quiver of life—

               coming to nestle in the most distant memories—

               that I do find myself at home.

               But sooner or later the sun—as precious as gold

               and of such rare beauty on this drowsy, sullen land,

               orchestrator of grandiose skies—

               reminds me who I am, or who at least I used to be,

               where my roaming soul indeed belongs,

               hurling me a thousand miles southeast.

               For I am a brigand here—

               my loot the eternal swish of branches in the westerlies

               and the instancy of desperate sunsets over the crests.

               A sly usurper, a thief of space and time.

               All while galaxies out there keep on drifting,

               and the clock cannot be zeroed.


             I only wished to start a new one.




               First published in Acumen (UK)