Something – among the sparse, medieval ruins
silhouetted against a powder blue sky –
is catching the sun intermittently.
Something, at the top of the steep hill – from here
by the town’s tumultuous rapids
more than a mile away – large enough
to flash in daylight like a lighthouse beacon.
A figure appears then two – small sticks
among the stones – and the light has shifted
from the stark gatehouse to the empty keep.
It shines steady and bright as a prying star –
then sun, wind, whim change and there is nothing.

Perhaps it was a weather balloon fallen
on the crags, forecasting all but its own
demise. We climbed there – we three –
more than thirty years ago and saw
the summer valleys oozing sea green,
the layers and layers of limestone cliffs.
Maybe we will climb it again – with a fourth
and fifth. Who would have predicted the light
twinkling so like a star!




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  1. #1 by Ashen Venema - January 30th, 2016 at 17:17

    I like the mystery.

  2. #2 by Alan Horne - February 2nd, 2016 at 21:52

    Yes, I agree with Ashen. Both this and your poem Odysseus this month make use of unclear images seen at a distance, and I like the way this doesn’t resolve. ‘Prying star’ is a great phrase.

  3. #3 by David Selzer - February 3rd, 2016 at 10:11

    The phrase ‘prying star’ is from Wordsworth’s poem about Crow Castle COMPOSED AMONG THE RUINS OF A CASTLE IN NORTH WALES – Is not putting it in quotation marks or providing a footnote cheating? I try to keep the work on the web page uncluttered.

  4. #4 by Alan Horne - February 3rd, 2016 at 16:08

    No, David, it just means I need to read more Wordsworth. Have just looked at the poem “Composed Among … ” which I hadn’t read before. Strikes me as very unassuming with some lovely delicate effects. Thanks for directing my attention to it.

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