Out of Reach

Old stone, so smooth to my fingers,
How long have you stood here
On this bare hill?
Who dragged you from the valley floor?
Were you their god, or
A waymarker, the
Right way somewhere?
Now, tired from the climb,
My shirt sticking to me,
I look down over fields, roads,
Sheep dots, pleased I’ve made it.

Stone cool to my back
I remember childhood holidays,
When, playing in those fields
I’d look up here,
So far, it seemed, so huge,
A place I’d never reach.
Yet, even my child’s eyes
Could just make out
The pimple on the top,
Now my stony chair.
How many years?

I doubt I’d recognise
That child now, what
Could I say to him
Or he to me
That would make any kind of sense?
He’s not from my country,
But as I trace moss and lichen
I can see him clearly,
The wind has blown away the mist,
And for a few moments
I am he once again.

Perhaps now we could talk
As we bask in the sunlight?
How, what, how…
How can I tell him what’s coming
Where to turn and when?
No, better perhaps to say nothing,
Remember him laughing in the fields,
Simply shake my head in quiet surprise
At how long ago it all was.
A sudden breeze opens my eyes,
Hisses through heather

Sky darker now. I turn,
Mist, bubbling from the valley
Rolls up over the grass,
Drives me from my seat
In hasty search for the road down.
And later, as I look back up
Through steaming clouds,
I see that child again, running,
Laughing in happy ignorance.
And I, feet planted heavily here,
I am envious.

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