When we have been far away, it is good to return home


I IIn my first life when I came to see you
my lover that dwells in the isles
first I would walk to the shoreline
beyond the distant horizon
At the mercy of the elements as
the rain beat on the hood of my cloak
as I walked through ancient woods
feeling the spirits of the ones who
were guardians of these places
then over the moors
where the rain gave way to wind
that cleared the mind to visions
of our place within the world
Follow the meandering river
crossing the endless plains, then
On towards the sea, where air
is filled with salt and calls of gulls
and then to the cliffs where
I picked my way down to the old ravine
where in the half light lived
behind the window, behind the oil lamp
the fisherman and his sons
who would carry me to the isles
on their way to harvest the seas
I passed the shed where herring smoked
gave silver to the old man
and boarded the ancient boat
Prayed for fair wind
not foul storm
To carry me to the isles
and so we put to sea
creaking boards, jewelled water
morning sunlight, old pier
slipped away behind
then to open sea and ride
the swell and watch the spray
the gulls that pace beside the mast
and swoop across our path
We are with the wind and soon
the isles that are the home
of my people and my love
appear out of the distant mists
on the gently curving horizon
and so by skill of years at sea
the old fisherman finds the spot
where sandbar reaches out to make
a harbour safe, but waits until
the sea beneath the moon does turn
to give safe passage in
The old man ties up beside the quay
I thank him and then thank those
who made the passage safe today
and walk once more on firm earth
but now on my beloved isles
it has been too long I think
since last I walked
through rolling hills and villages
where once more the words
are understood - it is with ease
I might pass the time of day
in pleasant discourse and then
make my way across the lands
soon enough find the road that leads
across the last line of hills and
then descend
to fair Avalon my home land
lush meadows, well tended orchards
But deeper, this place knows more
Of mists and secrets old and eternal
I cross the plain and dusk approaches
the birds take flight to their roosts
then pass, and in the east I see
the moon arises full to silhouette
the tower on the hill
the laughter from an inn flows out
and music from men skilled
on fiddle, pipes and guitar
into the darkening skies and on
the end wall of the road sit
two black cats; the sentinels
none shall pass - unless
the sentinels approve, but
four eyes flash green thus I may pass
take the path home to you my love
in the place I call my home
I have travelled too long alone.

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