A possible candidate for (attempted) reading at the next Open Mic…
We met moor-top one sunny day,
three of us raised and with
sufficient experience and people-interest
to relate beyond silence,
gruff acknowledgement, platitude
So we concede beyond polite fascination,
the courtesy finds connections,
and unspoken, unconfessed,
the sensitive awareness
of intellectual compatibility,
water finding its own level
and finding, as it were,
two vessels joined.
Was that why he asked
if he could walk with us,
we think to his benefit, maybe ours?
The loneliness was chosen.
He walks without
map or compass or even plan;
was this so the gods could chose companion,
rain, sun, heather, grouse, people?
And why as several coalesced
at scenic viewpoint did he speak with us,
when all knew the common vista enjoyment
and its fuzzed horizon, rubbed graphite,
seeped, too bruised to rely on divided line?
We walked and talked,
smiled knowingly, admired
competency, the linguistic polymath
overseas parental-pleasing and expected
drive, yet a ghostly wanderlust.
Short-term psychiatry appointments.
Was that want of wider experience,
or simple impatience, or an unsatisfied search?
We shall never know.
We shared his meagre ration,
at his insistence.
At ours he returned with us for soup
which was not to his taste
but of course feigned sufficiency.
He signed our visitors book,
took a card and said goodbye.
The police rang some months later:
Shayne missing in the mountains,
found your card at home.
Our tale fitted the present circumstance.
Six years on his death declared,
presumed victim of Adam and Eve
on Tryfan, beyond Ogwen
where darers leap between the rocks,
though body never found.
His namesake, nightmare novelist
writes 'the void of nothingness',
as my stranger's alter ego.
I wonder if this multi-lingual
doctor of the mind, lone wanderer,
open to the guiding wind
was some kind angel in disguise,
missed in mountain mist.
Entertaining strangers unawares.
Shayne, lost Tryfan, Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia, Wales - 4th August 2012
First Published, Academy of the Heart and Mind