Homesick

This one started out as this prose - following it is the same poem set to a simple patterning.

Over so many fields, so many hills,
Countless steps through bracken and swaying grasses,
Clinging brambles, standing pools.
I never thought a land could be so wide -
Mountains beyond mountains, who would have thought.
I am quite out of my reckoning.
Yet another stream to ford; slippery, green-slimed
rocks.
Yet another jagged, dusty hillock that must be
climbed.
Another empty mile.
Every step I take
I am farther from my home.

Before the daylight's warmth has even begun
We must rise and travel once again.
Gravel and tussock and root underfoot.
I have stopped even guessing what lies ahead.
Endless leather creak and shuffle-thud of boots,
The soft sliding along bent plant-stems, unseen
crickets,
Breath and murmur of weary companions.
I shift my pack again, though the ache is not eased
For my muscles, nor my heart.
Every step I take
I am farther from my home.

Homesick  - patterened version


Waves of homesickness bow my head,
Over so many fields and hills,
Countless steps crushing bracken dead.

With clinging brambles our day's filled,
Standing pools in a land so wide,
Swaying grasses that lay untilled.

Out of my reckoning, beside
Mountains beyond mountains I've seen;
Our white-edged maps were telling lies.

Cold rocks in water, all slimed green,
Dusty hillocks, empty miles,
And here another rushing stream.

Why do tales of travel beguile?
Every step away from my home
Is farther from my love's dear smile.

Before the daylight's warmth is come
We rise and hurry on once more,
Too tired to walk we sometimes run.

I cannot guess what lies in store,
Ahead through tussock, gravel, root;
Behind is what my dreams are for.

Leather-creak, shuffle-thud of boots,
Endlessly sliding plants apart.
Unseen crickets play foreign lutes.

I shift my pack and I do my part,
But there's no easing of the ache,
For my muscles or for my heart.

I'm farther, every step I take,
I did not know, though I do now
Longing for home a heart can break.

- Primula