September 22nd 2012 – the Autumn Equinox, nights are now drawing in which reminded me of this poem by Eden Phillpotts. Many has been the time when I have outstayed my welcome out on Dartmoor and found myself walking back in the dark. I love watching the moor change its persona from late afternoon through to dimpsey and then finally lapsing into a moonlit landscape of magical shadows and reflections. I would say from his words that Eden Phillpotts was well acquainted with such moorland journeys.
Now twilight spreads her cool and amber plume,
Descending on the solitudes until
All detail dies : the valley and the hill
Together darkling roll and merge into the gloom.
Faints the far emerald west and day is done ;
White Venus, throbbing on the dusky gold.
Swings out her lamp above the weald and wold,
While little, earth-born flames make answer one by one.
A child upon her mighty mother’s breast,
Earth cuddles in the bosom of old Night,
Who, gathering coomb and woodland, heath and height,
Opens her dewy wings to hide their dreamless rest.
The mists are trailing grey by watersmeet,
Night-hidden in the forest far below.
And where their pearly-paven vapours flow,
The Huntress upward steals to find her starry seat.
Her waxing splendours over moss and mire
Flood fen and barrow, reeve and pool and burn.
The lone, high tors, the tracks that wind and turn
Where the quartz crystal shines with dim and tremulous fire.
She marks the stone-man’s lodges empty lie ;
The broken folds, the tinner’s delving place ;
She lights the cairn, the cross, the faltering trace
Of bygone dead who homed in this immensity.
Eden Phillpotts – As The Wind Blows – 1920
Phillpotts, E. 1920. As the Wind Blows. London: Elkin Mathews.