I have been taking annual holidays each Spring
Out to my Scottish retreat, a hut all clad in pine,
For many years now. And every year that same, secluded, wooden door
Greets me. Everything is peaceful there, and nothing happens stranger
Than an occasional tree-fall or a boulder set
In the riverbank dislodging, revealing a small world of new
Untainted clay soil. The main merit of nothing new
Happening is that for that short period in Spring
I can take the hectic business of my life and set
It aside, to just appreciate the pure air of the pine
Forest. No meeting, no pollution, no stranger
Can disturb me there once I’ve crossed the threshold of that old worn door.
And yet this year, one cold morning, there came a rapping at the door.
Outside my cabin lay a blanket of new
Snow, and so for pity I opened up to find a stranger
Stood without. His arm was poised ready to spring
A second assault upon my little pine
Hut, and to disturb again the ranks of spindly icicles set
Around the eaves. His expression was solemn, his mind seemed set
On storming through my unsuspecting door
And spreading his battalions of frosty pine
Needles all across my freshly furnished living room and my new
Carpet. Granted it was a frosty, inhospitable morning that Spring
Day, but I did not take kindly to the manner of this invading stranger.
He spoke, “I’m sorry to intrude onto your property here, stranger,
I cannae apologise enough, but I saw your nice little set
Up here, and I hoped to find someone inside. See, I managed to spring
Upon a root while hiking, twisted my ankle, so when I saw your door
It was a welcome sight.” I was still suspicious of this new
Visitor but, knowing there were no roads for miles through the pine
Trees, I admitted him, if only to help warm my pine
Cottage with the body heat of another human stranger.
Yet when I turned my back to fetch biscuits and boil a new
Kettle for tea, the rascal grabbed a silver cutlery set
And a pack of cigars, then bounded out the door
Into the unmapped wilderness of the cold Spring
Forest. No-one could know a path between those pine trees, when new ones spring
Up annually like daffodils, least of all the slapdash stranger who bolted through my door.
This year I did at last see something new. But next year’s plans won’t change for that one cutlery set.