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The Ancient Track - text

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There was no hand to hold me back
That night I found the ancient track
Over the hill and strained to see
The fields that teased my memory.
This tree that wall - I knew them well,
And all the roofs and orchards fell
Familiarly upon my mind
As from a past not far behind.
I knew what shadows would be cast
As the late moon came up at last
From back of Zaman's Hill, and how
The vale would shine three hours from now.
And when the path grew steep and high,
And seemed to end against the sky,
I had no fear of what might rest
Beyond that silhouetted crest.
Straight on I walked, while all the night
Grew pale with phosphorescent light,
And wall and farmhouse gable glowed
Unearthly by the climbing road.
There was the milestone that I knew -
"Two miles to Dunwich" - now the view
Of distant spire and roofs would dawn
With ten more upward paces gone...
The was no hand to hold me back
That night I found the ancient track,
And reached the crest to see outspread
A valley of the lost and dead;
And over Zaman's Hill the horn
Of a malignant moon was born,
To light the weeds and vines that grew
On ruined walls I never knew.
The fox-fire glowed in field and bog,
And unknown waters spewed a fog
Whose curling talons mocked the thought
That I had ever known this spot.
Too well I saw from the mad scene
That my loved past had never been -
Nor was I now upon the trail
Descending to that long dead vale.
Around was fog - ahead, the spray
Of star-streams in the Milky Way...
There was no hand to hold me back
That night I found the ancient track.

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