We werenʼt exactly lost, although
the paper loops and dashes didnʼt match the massive view.
Beyond the bogs the ridge dissolved in daydreams;
we left the ledge and loped down open hillside.
A way descended, hopping thorough the tufts,
clarity and distance beads along a necklace
threading through the straggling moss and bilberries.
Those scratches on the map made towers above the grass.
How could we have known?
The unpath couldn't bear a contour in the fellside calm.
I tramped ahead uncertain, you defended us behind;
the lace of ferns confused us, the distance compassed us about,
the sphagnum and the rocky tops prevented us.
I stepped upon an ocean from the sky and never reached the ground.
The valleys bent until we couldn't see the start or end;
one more curve and space and time would close.
Other plants and stony crags dissolved into the past,
upland and unchanging as the variation failed.
Something in the nooks and crannies passed so close
I felt its breath upon my cheek, and breathed more carefully as
the rock and wind uprose, the grass before, the grass behind;
a quiet more than silence on the forward edge of time
compressing all the future to the universe's end.
I turned to see if you would cleave into the rocks —
then out of some descending cleft
we found the gate, the path, the trees, the certain line
bending precisely through the broad plantation
to the narrow world below.
September 2009 – October 2011