Poem Survivor from Waiting for the Dawn: A woman stands on a hilltop looking down at a lake and hills in autumn


Now, as I look down from the plateau of my achievements,
I see the many places I had to conquer:
The steep slopes, the raging rivers, the skidding screes.
I can see too, the resting places: the sheltered lakes,
The wooded slopes, the flower meadows.
And I can see the threading path between them,
Sometimes a deeply rutted track, a paved road,
Or just my own footprints on the dewy turf.

I turn my head towards the heights above me:
Some jagged-toothed; others rounded, lined with trees.
I can hear the call of flowing water –
Perhaps a hidden beck chattering in a forest glade,
A fresh spring bubbling out of the heathered hillside,
Or a quiet tarn above the tree line, nestling in a cwm’s embrace.

Tomorrow still calls, tempting me to walk on,
To climb up to new heights, to face new challenges,
To live while life allows with whatever life has left me.
But for now, let me savour the moment of this present.

Here, on this plateau, every moment of that past journey,
Has transformed me into the survivor I am now.   

© Maggie Shaw 2021

A poem from the collection Waiting for the Dawn (2022).

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