A Leave-Taking

As I went down through Eskdale
In a sudden shower of rain
I heard my heart within me say:
You may not come again.
The pack-straps on your shoulder
They bear a heavy load;
They carry boyhood’s dead delight
Along the outward road.
Scawfell is set behind you
And Bowfell stands to keep
The memories of racing blood
Where the wind’s among the sheep.
On Crinkle Crags the black rain
Is yours no more to love
And Border End stands yearlong now
The grave of youth above.
Then, if I go forever
From Cumberland the kind,
O last-met winds, breathe into me
A clean breath for my mind:
O rain across the tarn’s face,
Brown sunlight on the slope,
Give the last gift of courage now
To exile’s heart of hope.