The Winged Horse


It’s ten years ago today you turned me out the door
To cut my feet on flinty lands and stumble down the shore
And I thought about the all in all, Oh more than I could tell
But I caught a horse to ride upon and I rode him very well
He had flame behind the eyes of him and wings upon his side
And I ride and I ride!

I rode him out of Wantage End, I rode him up the hill
And there I saw the beacon in the morning standing still
Inkpen and Hagpen and southward and away
High through the middle airs in the heat of the day
And there I saw the channel glint and England in her pride
And I ride and I ride

And once atop of Lambourne Down, towards the hill of Clere,
I saw the host of Heaven in rank and Michael with his spear
And Turpin out of Gascony, and Charlemagne the lord,
And Roland of the Marches with his hand upon his sword
For the time he should have need of it; – and forty more beside!
And I ride; and I ride!

For you that took the all in all, the things you left were three:
A loud voice for singing, and keen eyes to see,
And a spouting well of joy within that never yet was dried!
And I ride!

from Complete Verse (Jonathan Cape, 1999), used by permission of PFD on behalf of the author. Recording by permission of the BBC.

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