Sleeping on His Watch

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
On a night in June
Warm summer night
Cool mountain breezes
Warmed and cooled
The guard who stood
To watch the forest road

He leaned against
A bent old tree
Gray battered tree
That hummed and swayed
Beneath whose feet
Sparse grass rustled

And as the guard stood
Sighing tree above
Singing grass below
His head slowly nodded
His knees slowly bent
Until head lay on arms
Arms upon knees
And the guard shut his eyes
And thought
‘I will not sleep
Only just rest
And though my eyes shut
I’ll keep my ears open wide
So that if any come near
I will hear them and rise’
Now shut he his eyes
And laying his head
Betwixt his arms
Laid his ear upon his watch
And the tree hummed on
But to the guard it was a river
And the grass sang on
And it was a whispered secret
And the forest melted away
To great fields like gold
And in place of leaning tree
Bent and battered graying tree
Reached the wide boughs of an oak
And the sun came
Shining shimmering
And birds began to sing
And the guard was glad
And as he lay still
Listening listening
He heard his watch
Chick tick chick ticking
And suddenly up sprang horses
Galloping galloping
Through glittering fields they came
Kallot kallot clack clattering
Dark and menacing they came
Splashing through the river
Up towards the road
No more thought the guard
Of the whispered secret
No more of the beautiful river
No more of the birds’ song
Now thought he only
One horrible thought
‘I have left my post
Abandoned the road
Now none will warn
And none will know
Until too late
Until too late’
His heart fell to the ground
His hands were cold as ice
‘And all my fault and all my fault’
Still he could hear the horse’s hooves
Kallot kallot clack clattering
‘I must go now and meet them
Though I cannot overtake them
I’d rather die
With those I’ve failed
Then live on in this shame’
He struggled to his feet
And hoof beats faded
Staggering opened his eyes
Rushing river vanished
Forest boughs wrapped dark around
Sun faded
Moon shown down
Grass sang a rustling song
And up above humming swaying
Stood a bent and battered tree





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback