Across the highlands,
‘top his horse,
Despite all tries
To stray his course,
With poisoned maiden
At his back,
He would not stop
‘Till daylight crack.

Once he’d rested;
Hour or so,
And drained a bottle;
Running low,
A cautious rabbit
He did slew,
But had no time
To warm his stew.

For maiden who
Did look so bleak –
Who could not eat
And could not speak –
Was growing weaker
By the day,
And could afford
No long delay.

Once more towards
The rising sun,
He spurred his horse
Into a run,
As up ahead
Would lie the gate,
With guardians
Patient in wait.

Ignoring cries,
He galloped through;
A guardians’ spear
Thrown straight and true,
Though swiftly on
The horse did race
At such a speed
They could not chase.

And once emerged
From other side,
The injured horse
With spear in Hide
Did fall atop
The growing moss;
For him the battle
Seemed a loss.

With darting glance
From left to right,
And no more
Guardians in sight,
The man and maiden
Took to rest
Beneath the tree
With fruits in best.

When only brightened
Skies ahead,
Did waken him
From flower’s bed,
He scanned around
The forest vast,
And realized too much
Time had passed.

In panic, he did
Try the horse,
Who lay quite still,
To his remorse.
And just beside
That fading mane –
In sleep the maiden
Would remain.

Jonathon Best© 2014