When we met at Gatwick Airport
you seemed uneasy – closing ears
against trolley clatter and agitated voices,
the tyranny of departure times.
As we walked the Cevennes, you mellowed,
seemed at home among villages that grew,
rough hewn from granite slopes.
You opened out with the horizons,
as we climbed between boulders strewn
when mountain bones stirred.
You saw through my camouflage
of cagoule and boots. Stretched your hand
across a stream where ice-cold water
fizzed among slippery stones.
You showed me wild orchids, taught
me names: early purple, elder-flowered.
We watched the distant landscape:
the river’s extravagant curve,
interplay of varied blues and greens –
reduced to tapestry, as we stood
together at the summit.