Riding Home

Riding home, late evening,

winter dusk, swiftly darkening

hooves trotting soft on damp verges,

clipping loudly on hard roads,

fields and hedges fading behind me,

ahead the lights of a hamlet.


High on my horse, I see windows

beyond the hedges, curtains undrawn,

comforting scenes within, a table,

white cloth, plates, butter dish and bread.

Through another, a lamp, a vase of leaves.

Occasionally a figure passes through a room,

another in an armchair with a paper,

strong glow of a fire, warm and welcoming,

wine glasses reflecting in the bright light.

I slow my horse, loving these domestic scenes,

but soon they’re left behind, the night darker,

hands frozen on the reins, face burning in cold.


I urge my mount into a longer, striding trot,

turning her through a gate, fast up the drive,

soon my chestnut mare is bedded down,

a haynet on the wall, a trough of water,

sweet stable smells, she softly whickering.

I walk towards the house, the lamps are lit,

through a window, flames leap in a hearth.

I watch you place a log on the welcome blaze,

I hurry in, casting my coat, my gloves, my boots,

curling up on the rug in our own lit room,

warmed by the glowing flames of our own fire.

The frosted sky, the chilling air, just a memory,

in the gleam of homecoming light, of warmth, of love



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