For Hope Bourne
I visited Exmoor in April,
I descended into coombs
Where neat villages nestle from the west winds.
I rolled up onto the dark moor
Whose gorse bushes shine like beacons.
I watched the tiny streams
tumble like children in play.
The veins of this body of dark peat, mysterious
Swathed in thick fogs which glisten the spiders webs.
The violets tiny heads peek out from their thick banks
And smile at the sun with celandines for friends
And pale primroses for party goers.
Where the sun shadows fall early and rise late in the quiet valleys,
The swallows chatter like old women.
And the moor, ancient forest of kings,
Ancient hunting ground rich with fauna,
As red deer rut in the autumn,
I saw a stag, held motionless
By the scent of an interloper,
Statued by the light into bronze.
I met an old lady, bent like the oaks
Moss’d and gnarled by life on the moor.
She had the moors wind in her breath
And the gorse in her hair.
Age dimmed her sight,
But in the sharpness of knowing she sees all the wild world
She’s lived in for so many years.
And the night sky full of stars
Shines on her, though she does not look up,
She knows they are there.
Counting them every night she takes them with her bantams
And knits patterns into a carpet
She stares at in the dark of the evening.
And I saw that you have to give yourself
To your calling before your life’s work is complete,
I saw in Hope, a piece of Exmoor that lies between
The hills the sea and sky,
The old lady running with the wind in her hair,
Stars fell out of a black sky into her twisted hands,
And she put them into her pockets.
Caroline Baldock ©2008