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Dreaming, we trace the tempered spiral path:
O'er cloud-masked mountains, down unto a shadowy vale;
Chase, through arching gaps between the conifers,
The phantom route of fleeing, fleeting stag
Forged through the underbrush, a prow through roiling seas.
The fresh, crisp snow betrays its course, and ours.

Off in the distance duelling viols play
Across the echoed beat of an insistent drum
And to the droning wail of an autumnal wind, –
Though none to heed remote and plaintive strains,
And we too rapt within our northbound quest
Into this land of green and grey, of glow and grim.

Onwards we press our steamy-nostrilled steeds,
Deep into wildwood – temple of linden, pine, and birch;
Pass, stealthy wolves, 'neath sun-pricked canopy
Borne high by silver pillars, columns gold.
Though a beguiling landscape, drowsy with dark spells,
Naught must deflect the huntsmen from their stern pursuit.

Bone-chilled and saddle-sore, day's close approaching,
Riders and mounts alike yearning for quiet,
A careworn oak our makeshift hill-top bower
Through nightime's unforgiving, silent treading passage.
Then meadow elves, mere will-o'-wisps, in the murky mist gambol;
Whilst we, slumber-shrouded, evade all our worries.

Still, when the forest and the granite melt like ice, we may awake
Into a world of muted colour, lush but strange,
Where wind-turned waves assault a brooding shore
And sea-wives tempt unwary travellers to the depths.
There, under the dancing lights of the aurora skies,
There will we pause ... await our fates.

this land of green and grey

photos: Stephen Alsford

Created: November 20, 2017. Last modified: December 12, 2017 © Stephen Alsford