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June 2002
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A Meeting in the Hills
by Eric Bourne

You said that you would come
In winter walking
Out of the tall fold of hill
And so as darkness fell I came and waited,
Alone upon the slopes of Tal-y-Fan.

Warm with whisky and with expectation
My lantern tracked a finger
On the filling tides of night.
No hardship yet to lean upon the arm of wind
And open there my eye behind a glove;
A single eye of welcome,
Steady in all the tossing seas of dark.
No hardship yet to wait,
Wait with spirit leashed and tugging
Towards the certainty of meeting.

Then as the night advanced there came,
Out of the fold of hill and from between
The tilted chines,
Snow walls and cave-black cliffs
All plumed with voiceless water;
Came riding huge and towering, horsemen,
Shadowing up against the star-drilled sky.

I closed my coat and held my ground
For I had come to wait,
Not yeild and give way to riders,
Coming faceless out of the hill;
Steadfast in my watching eye
I keep your path and will
That you should follow it,
Despising the flying capes
And endlessly pouring hooves
Till in the hopeless hour before the dawn
You came, as I had willed you should,
Walking boldly out of the hill.

I saw your lamp
And let my spirit off its leash,
Opening my cramped hand
To let it go and meet you swiftly,
Scattering the reeling horsemen;
Bringing you my greeting
Out of the waning dark.

Taken from Watcher on a Far Shore by Eric Bourne, first published in Great Britain in 1997 by Laidlaw Hicks Publishers, 63 Collingwood Avenue, Surbiton, Surrey. KT5 9PU
ISBN 0-9527389-1-0


We publish work by Welsh poets.
welshpaintings 2002 | poem copyright Frederick Stanley Bourne | thanks to the Bourne family