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FAREWELL #2 ("It is an ancient mariner")

I met a poet on a train
As I was journeying south
Towards the sea,
Towards the tears of bitter relief
That clasped eyes to pathos, hope, and memory.
We spoke of years that waste themselves,
Lest harvested by scythes
As golden corn;
Of shopping-days when withering wives
Walk briskly in raincoats, steer toward firesides warm;
Of foreign students gathering tongues
At pre-selected points –
Street-corners, pubs –
To barter words the Native anoints
With misunderstanding, maladjust overdubs;
Of two great hills that take the town
Between, as in divide,
Opposing camps
In nature, yet by governed design
Herd forth th'insolvent, one beneath magic lamps.
And, while we pondered the meeting of strangers,
We sat and listened to each other's silence,
Oft glanced through grim, travel-stained glass at
Stations, at windmills, at chalky white horsemen,
At nothing.
And I was reminded,
As threads of cold iron by a bridge of beams
Crossed a winding and a peaceful stream,
Of a ribbon, lost from the hair
Of an innocent child
And sought, years later,
By all her earnest lovers.
photos: Stephen Alsford
two great hills

Created: November 17, 2014. Last modified: January 5, 2015. © Stephen Alsford