Now and Then
On the high hill, in sun-bright scrub,
the path wound under trees
a big loop, and then
out into a space of powerful slopes,
grass long and burnt silver, bounded
by clumped, huge close-leaved trees, green and dark.
Something like an English parkland
but bigger, wilder, stronger,
The path went on and on
like a path in a ballad or a story
leading the wandering traveller
(the youngest son, the chosen man)
at last suddenly across an unmarked border,
thralled by a hand
the Queen of fair Elfland.
I am not for her
nor need fear her, holding you in my heart,
your presence at my side in this your land.
But still the path tempted me on.
And suddenly I reached a board:
“End of Reserve. Private land beyond.
Do not trespass”.
The unbroken path whispered, but I did not trespass,
turned back, wondering
if this perhaps were the border of the worlds
masquerading behind the notice.
We walked together back under the trees.