For Hope Bourne

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