I took to my bed early, but my usual insomnia coupled with a cough now in its twelfth week kept me from sleeping, so getting up and heading out for a night time walk seemed a good idea.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea
The plowman homeward plods his weary way
And leaves the world to darkness and to me
I take the path into the churchyard
Then not sure which path to take, I decided on this one
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair.
In the undergrowth I spotted someone sleeping, and wary of using the flash in case I aroused him or her from their slumbers, I struggled to take a photograph. I had to tinker with it on the computer to come up with this rather poor pic. I don't know where the lights came from, they were not there when I took the pic.
What if you slept
And what if
In your sleep
And what if
In your dream
You went to heaven
And there picked a beautiful flower
And what if
When you awoke
You had that flower in your hand
Ah, what then?
A dog sat by the sleeping person, again I took a rather poor photo due to lack of light.
And a dreadful thing from the cliff did spring
And its wild bark thrilled around
His eyes had the glow of the fires below
Twas the form of the Spectre Hound
I have a wander around God's Acre
As I pass the church, the security light automatically turns on
I make my way out of the churchyard, leaving the rough sleeper and the more permanent occupiers of the graveyard to their slumbers.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
On reaching the road, I watch a somewhat inebriated man walked into the gin saloon sign - and then apologise to it!
Ho! Ho! Ho To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.
I decide to head for quieter parts, a twenty minute walk finds me on the track leading to the river. I am mindful that several muggings have taken place recently in this area, but surely all self respecting muggers will be safely tucked up in bed by now!
It was under this bridge that a woman's body was pulled out of the river. The poor woman could not cope with her troubled mind, she ended things in this river. Very, very sad.
The bleak wind of March made her tremble and shiver;
But not the dark arch, or the black flowing river;
Mad from life's history, glad to death's mystery,
Swift to be hurl'd - anywhere, anywhere out of this world.
The lockkeepers cottage looks pretty with its welcoming lights
As I pass by the boats at their moorings, I hope the camera flash will not wake the river dwellers from their sleep. The only noise is the low hum of a boats generator, someone is quite literarily burning the midnight oil!
In the dark my eyesight is not so good, neither is my balance, I trip over one these mooring ropes and nearly end up in the river
I think it prudent to leave the river (after nearly drowning in my youth, I never did learn to swim). Just then I notice a boat making way slowly down the river, there are lights on the boat, but no red navigation light showing from the port side as there should be when the boat is under way. The story of the Mary Celeste comes into my mind!
I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky.
(Where this boat will end up if it keeps drifting)
I climb a fence and find myself in a wood, I find my way through the trees and the undergrowth and end up in a field.
In the dark I hear something coming towards me, he turns out to be friendly and lets me scratch his head.
I've never seen a purple cow,
I never hope to see one,
but I can tell you anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!
(I did say at the beginning that I would be taking liberties linking verse to narrative!)
Time to move on, I take the long walk into town. On the outskirts, food is still being served at 4.45am
I pass this pretty Christmas tree
Town is nearly deserted
Due to the poor photo, I was in two minds as to if I should include it in my blog. I was touched so deeply by this girl, that I feel compelled to use it here. The young woman is homeless, all her possessions are in the bags she has with her. I give her some money for her breakfast. A woman living on the streets is especially vulnerable - her dogs will protect her.
Draped in a blind cloak of tomorrows sorrow,
The invisible Homeless,
Dead to the world, left to soak, beg and borrow,
The invisible Homeless
Skeletal, yet boneless,
The invisible Homeless,
Floating by, weightless, invisible Homeless
With a heavy heart I move on. I wander round the side streets deep in thought
It is along one of these streets I pass the oldest pub in Oxford
When chapmen billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors meet,
As market days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the long Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky sullen dame,
gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
Tam O' Shanter is a fantastic poem about what happened to a soul who had drunk too much, and what befell him on his horse ride home. It is worth reading the complete poem. I had to learn the complete poem as a thirteen year old attending an Edinburgh school.
At the coach station, the London coach waits for early passengers
I start walking home and see an offer almost too good to ignore
Half way home and I see blue flashing lights. A fireman tells me that burnt toast had set a smoke alarm off - a false alarm
And down the long and silent street,
The dawn with silver-sandaled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.
Whilst on my walk I watched two drug deals going down, and passed a lady of the night plying her trade. I thought it best not to photograph either - though I was tempted!
As I come to the end of this posting, I hear the wind howling and the rain pelting against the window, and I cannot help but think of those sleeping rough, of the people on the street with no home to give them shelter on a night such as this. I say a silent prayer for them.
My mind drifts back many years, to a time when I for a while I slept rough with no home.
So, we'll go no more a roving
So late in the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.