At the Wayside


I walked to where the river ran

On those spring days in ages past

When the oak trees were but saplings

And below, this road was but a path

Winding to the place where we

Would by chance so often meet

Beside the river, upon the hill

Where all was limned in peace.

We two wanderers, Niphophar,

Laid down fare, laid down arms

Breaking fast as if long years

Had left us as companions are

When all we shared was the ease

Of  warm sunlight over the valley

Of flowers’ bloom, short and sweet

And grasses’ dance in the breeze.

Scant words to trade even as

We met at the wayside of the path

Time and again, though it was

A place that men rarely passed

For unspoiled the river flowed

Down from peaks crowned in snow

To fill our skins and cool our brows

Before falling to the valley low.

We came to wait if the sun was high

Each for the other’s walking by

Each for an easy, road-worn smile

And for sitting under open sky

Ever blue, for we took fair days

Alone for meeting in that place

Days when the dry earth made

Fine couches for our separate ways.

How easy it was to meet and part

In the empty country, Niphophar

When the nearest dwellings lay

 Off at miles green and far

When at night, over the hills

The hum of crickets was all until

The oaks spread and from branches

Came the call of whip-poor-will

~

Image from Xaxor

This poem is a re-post, since I still think of it every now and then

© 2012, Elizabeth Cook

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