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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

into conversation.

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

12 views3 comments


Debbie Dalton
Debbie Dalton
Feb 23, 2023

😉loved this , so rich in thought


Dawson Stafford
Dawson Stafford
Feb 22, 2023

I like the introspection of the piece, asking more questions than it answers. Love it!


Alison Blevins
Alison Blevins
Feb 20, 2023

Wow, a tale beautifully told.

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