The track ran like a white stream over the heath,
slow between the wide banks of ferns and heathers
with their vivid shades of purples and greens –
and on the horizon the channel shined blue.
Occasional flints glinted. He lay
in a dry runnel. He could hear the bees
labouring about him and, once, a cart
driven, he guessed, to the coast – and, once,
a woman singing some local song,
making her way inland, descending
into the wooded valley where the bear
had been stoned to death. He dreamt of the bear
and the silent mob droving the creature
into the river. He woke suddenly,
shivering. Stars sparkled in a moonless sky.
He rose, stiffly, onto his knees, scanned the heath
for moving shadows, listened for syllables,
warm, soft, heard, saw nothing, knew silence
and stillness and darkness from now would be
where he moved – he who had been hurdy-gurdy,
brazen. He walked quickly to the track
and followed it seawards.