The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey
Alex Harper

The lime-pit stomach, sick,
and birds I cannot name
shooting up and circling
black against the sky,
hot rain in the wrong season,
blank snow, from nowhere,
and the quest I’m given
is finding what was buried
long ago in distant ground
with one compass true
and six set wrong
and I don’t know which is which.

I make no progress,
find no bones or ghosts or gold.
Ill and still bird-mad
and battered by the weather
all that I remember now
is the rolling fog
in the wise man’s reassuring room
until I can hardly see him
as he wisely nods, or shouts,
or fails to understand
when I walk into the winter night
and quit.




Alex Harper has poems published or forthcoming in The Interpreter’s House, Mirror Dance, and Not One of Us. He lives in south-east England and can be found online at

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