Hunger Hill
Alan Williams

They'll be rolling out of the Shoulder now,
Loud and boisterous through the village
And up the steep of Hunger Hill.
Puffing and groaning onward they'll climb,
Their banter stilled by beating breath,
Until they reach the lonely pine
And look, to see .... no view,
But lights on Earth and stars in heaven.

There'll be a heady panting pause,
A space to think what time it is,
As headlights snake towards the village
Obeying the call of distant bells
For faithful, constant worshippers
And those who kneel but once a year.

The distant town will call them too
With muffled chimes from lonely spires,
Where weary mums and hapless dads
Prepare to make the final push.
Extracting gifts from secret places
Their kids have known since weeks before.
Stuffing socks with bits and pieces
Apple, orange, golden coins.
And high above the sodium haze
They'll see a wonderment of stars,
And point to those known since a child.
Aquarius, the bear, the plough,

The very stars that I see now.
A soldier in a foreign land,
Lying in its troubled sand.
Wondering as I watch and wait,
My finger clutching someone's fate,
If any of them think of me?
Their pal who joined the infantry
And finds himself on Christmas Eve
On guard instead of being on leave.

In such a place on such a day,
As I recall the scriptures say,
A single star poured out its light
From heaven, to mark the holy site.
A new born baby in a stall
To make some meaning of it all.
To spread the word that God began
But never quenched the greed of man,
Ambition and the quest for power,
That brings me here this midnight hour.

Where is that star? I seek it still;
Like my dear friends on Hunger Hill.

Copyright © Alan Williams.  All rights reserved. No part of this text may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author.

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