"My Lord! A heroine in tears - what fuss
is this, my child? These dew-buds on your cheeks
should signal joy, relief, release from night -
I saw you strike the Tallyman's own pot;
I watched as mists were wrenched apart, unwrapped
like muscle teased from bones - confusion reigns
in Purgat'ry and sunlight welcomes us
to Christ's immense, unmeasured grace!
Have you been hurt? An injury perhaps?"
"How long have I been gone from home? I know"Now there's a question set to stretch the brains
there was a night of terror: madness claimed
my heart and guts, my mind - I was ashamed
and angry ... visions came to me although
I fought them hard. I killed a man? No - no!
A nightmare, nothing more! But you were there,
I think - you told me things, you let me share
your food ... how long have I been gone from home?"
of naturalists and scholars! Who can tell
how time can pass in timeless realms? And yet
it cannot be denied that sequences occurred:
each act begat another act, each moment built
upon the last - a parody of time, maybe?
I felt each breath to be my last and still
I breathed again, cessation never came -
a memory of life, I thought, a scrap
of old routine retained to keep me sane
beyond the binding weight of grave and corpse.
"Another question comes to me, a dog
that whines and digs for bones. This place does look
- familiar; this hill that curls the land
is surely Lympne - yes, look! I see the rocks
of Stutfall Tower buried deep in turf.
And there! That steeple - Burmarsh church, I'm sure,
and northwards sits the town of Hythe ... my house ..."
"I broke a window, climbed inside. I found -"You speak in English, yet the lexicon
a different place; fresh paint, new furnishings
and gadgets - phones so small - a thin TV -
computers, fabrics, shoes that bounce and bound -
so soft to wear. I do not know these things!
It's like the future's come to finish me!"
you choose is foreign - gadgets? Puters? Phones?
Such vexing words - are these angelic tools?
Although your eyes show pain and fear - as if
these miracles have changed while you were gone
from here, and how can things be changed if not
by time itself? Ahh ... now I see the need
for tears and grief - how long have we been trapped
by mists and moons? It seemed an age to me
but thinking back - a month, perhaps, of new
awakenings, each colder than the last -
we must investigate this mystery!
The task will clear away confusion, steer
our feet towards redemption, yes? We'll walk
to Hythe, my friend, and question all we see!"