He finds her walking westwards, as lost
as the thrusts and gusts of the threatening storm.
He pulls on her coat to catch her attention.
"I cannot deny it; you'll not disagree:
you look as confused as a wherry at sea,
no trust for your compass, its nonsense a moil
of spins and seductions enough to embroil
a heart in a tavern of doxies and pox."
She can feel the crusts of his calloused fingers
as she clasps it between her cold-blanched palms
and steers him through a surf of shoppers.
"Now please understand me; I don't mean to mock:
this morning you gave me the greatest of gifts –
a sunrise so golden it cast me adrift!
I walked with a shadow across these old lands
and stood on that high wall to marvel at sands
recast by each tide into berms and lagoons:
I ran and I danced like a crippled buffoon
and mewled as a kitten when tasting the grits
of salt in the breeze – you've unstoppered my wits …"
The High Street tacks like the twisted hawse
of anchor cables caught in the ebb.
A slant of sunlight stipples the road
as they arc across the icy cobbles.
"… and still I am lost. Each new step that I take,
each wonder my eyes fall upon makes me quake –
it breaks me, it smacks on my bones like a boar
at rut, for the world that I loved is no more."
They stop at the foot of a staircase alley
that offers escape from the scope of traders;
a murder of tinsels mirrors from his eyes
as their gazes lock through the gauze of centuries.
"I beg you to listen, my Lady. My feats
are ending; the log of my life is replete
with parables fit for a king's history …
and now I must tackle one last mystery.
I ache for the comfort of coffins, I crave
the bliss of unbreachable sleep in my grave
and you are the one who can help me achieve
my final desire to complete this shore leave."