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An owl hoots somewhere in the darkness
to my right where there are no stars,
only the solid blackout curtain that is
the silhouette of the castle atop the hill.

I can’t see it but I know it’s there,

know the stars still sparkle

behind the sandstone facade

of the long terrace,

beyond the many windowed walls

wan with pale moonlight,

only visible from the town side,

concealed from me by the night,

yet so imposing by day,

defining my surroundings.

As I walk,

the gentle morning breeze

re-invigorates my soul,

carries the faint echo of my footsteps

into the pregnant pause

of the day yet to wake.

Not another soul do I see

on my five in the morning walk;

no living thing,

though I’m not alone.

The owl, and

the still silent dawn chorus

wait impatiently in the wings

for their early morning curtain call,

and the scurryings underfoot,

in the hedgerows,

and beside the path

all accompany me.

I’ve walked this way

a thousand times;

no more.

No six o’clock start,

no factories left,

they’re all gone.

No buses to catch,

no early morning call

at the newsagents.

No Dante’s Inferno hell of a foundry
either.

This morning ritual,

my solitary walk with the creator, creation,

in all its subdued glory

is but a memory,

a dream

I revisit from time to time,

remembering

when life held so much promise;

when to be cold, tired and
walking wearily to work

in the dark dead of night

was a joy

not recognised

nor truly appreciated.

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