I was standing on the Lawe Top, a favourite spot of mine.
At that mystic time of twilight, when shadows dance along the Tyne,
Lost in contemplation, the world seemed solely mine.
When a primal instinct wakened, sent a tingling down my spine.
For I sensed another’s presence, and out the comer of my eye,
A Roman soldier kept a vigil, standing quite nearby,
No trick of light and shadow, I could tell that at a glance.
Moonlight gleamed on segmentata, it flashed along his lance.
Time inconsequential, realities’ limits strained.
Majestic in his bearing, his eyes on the river trained.
His youthful form surprised me, he could scarcely have been nineteen.
Yet he stood with proud demeanour as if there was nothing he hadn’t seen.
In trepidation I said ‘Good Evening’ words hanging by a thread.
He turned a little, acknowledged me, with an inclination of his head,
1 said I’d just returned to ‘Shields’, after many years away,
And the joy to gaze on familiar scenes, to be home at close of day.
In the bosom of my family, far from worldly cares.
At this he turned, I could clearly see, his eyes were filled with tears.
And I could sense his longing, I said “ your home is far away “,
His words came gently on the breeze “ Hinc Illae Lacrimae”.
Then drifting clouds across the moon, contempt for light displayed.
And shimmering moonbeams fled the scene, and all by night waylaid.
Centurion too, had fled from view, dark night the spell had broken.
His vision indelible on my mind, and the words that he had spoken,
I lingered there, heedless to time, a link to another world.
Then silently retraced my steps, as dawn nights curtain furled,
A convergence then of space and time? Perhaps,God only knows.
The breeze becomes a whisper, the river quietly flows.
L J Merrifield