my memoirs: Savernake Forest Hotel

a tale of a wanderer

inspired by a man who came into the Savernake Forest Hotel one day in 1969

a man walked in square jaw and chin
black hair curled lightly on his head
with a long slow tread he came to the bar
‘come far?’
I asked as I poured his drink
‘from here and there …’
he softly said
as he watched his glass
‘… from over the hill …’
and he waited, quiet and still
till the beer was to the brim
just me and him
and a story waiting to be told
of how he lived in the lanes
how he sheltered in a fold of the hills
looking at a million stars
in a night that was as dark
as the beginning of time
how he slept in the woods and the fields
‘… never slept under a roof
since I was grown
and that’s the truth …’
his forearms solid, tanned
his wrists his fists
like stout-handled hammers
the sky was in his eyes
and the wind was in his breath
the sea in his distant thoughts …
… he passed this way for many years
and with him he would bring
stories of the year just gone
and signs of this year’s Spring