Alessio Zanelli

The Brigand

I only wished to start a new one.

May this be home? Millstone grit and heather?
Undulating pastures and drystack fences?
The dales once ruled by the Brigantes?
A place this ancient ‒ where days glide by so slow
and human presence is not a fundamental trait ‒
surely wrings my deepest strings.
Lost in it, on my own, carrying nothing,
and nothing loaded on my mind ‒
it looks, sounds and smells
like I had always been part of it.
Everything fits just right, and I feel good.
Like I had been treading these moors
and my thoughts ascending these ridges ‒
to see what runs away beyond the hilltops ‒
since the very moment I was born.
Still, it is when the light abates
and cloudbanks slither down to cloak the slopes ‒
emulating lowland fog ‒
when the lines of trees fade on the horizon
and silence appropriates each quiver of life ‒
coming to nestle in the most distant memories ‒
that I do find myself at home.
But sooner or later the sun ‒as precious as gold
and of such rare beauty on this drowsy, sullen land,
orchestrator of grandiose skies ‒
reminds me who I am, or who at least I used to be,
where my roaming soul indeed belongs,
hurling me a thousand miles southeast.
For I am a brigand here ‒
my loot the eternal swish of branches in the westerlies
and the instancy of desperate sunsets over the crests.
A sly usurper, a thief of space and time.
All while galaxies out there keep on drifting,
and the clock cannot be zeroed.

I only wished to start a new one.

Alessio Zanelli is an Italian poet who writes in English and whose work has
appeared in some 170 literary journals from 15 countries. His fifth original
collection, titled The Secret Of Archery, was published in 2019 by Greenwich Exchange Publishing (London).