Spume spatters night, the pickle-black stream
a-tumble under moon, is whispering loud
between lichen-stained stones, hissing
about ruin of Man as it hastens to sea.
The clouds uncover a star mantled crescent
illuminate a petrified gauntlet of stone
pickle brown scars etched in yellow
shape fingers grasping an invisible hilt.
All about my better body shadows dance
thick-like bracken wracked by wind.
I hear clattering hooves, sprays of flint shard
see a thundering mass of muscle and blood,
flanks creaming red, a horse and rider
a force on the run. I can feel the hurt
labouring breath know her last service
hastens in the dark to this musical place.
Astride her saddled brave heart,
helmeted, metal shorn, steel spurred,
a wounded warrior is breathing his last
eyes bright and fixed on safe haven.
A mortal wound bloodies the cross
of his surcoat, a lance haft splintered
is sunk deep to the thigh; yet he rides
as if ready to battle the Christian foe.
Left hand fists the bridle, the right
grips a sword pointing to earth.
It is the horse that gives way
her heart bursts as she stumbles,
the stream too wide too deep too dark.
The rider thrown lies broken on horns
of veined rock, eyes fixed to the sky,
his cape now a shred of dark shadow.
The last laboured breath of his charger
is taken by the stream and moves on
reborn in the song sung by the stones
eternally free of saddle and rider.
Stillness has swallowed the warrior’s fire
high flies his purpose, body-less at last,
soul-like beyond sky bowl of stars
seeking the grail of everlasting life.
And I stumble in time, unsure
If my better body is the breath of life
part drawn to the moon part to the stream
transforming, dividing, living a dream.