I was not born to that country -
I came there young, and walked
Its ways, guidebook in hand
With wonder and with love.
As I grew older I ventured further;
Dared walk down byways undescribed,
Find new places, tend gardens, write
Guidebooks myself that others might see.
Yet - I was not born to that country
Though I came there young, and
My home was elsewhere.
One night as I sat in the lamp's yellow
Glow, with an old book in my hand
Out of the shadows came a knock to the door.
I answered, I went out and I saw -
Beyond the garden wall were riders.
And some of their horse were black,
And some of their horses were brown,
But he that sat on the milk-white steed
Went the nearest to the town.
And the starlight gleamed on steel as they stood
With the night wind blowing about them;
It glinted on helm and sword,
It gleamed on lance and spur.
And aye as the horses swung their heads
So the bells on their bridles rang.
None spoke; yet silent still, one
Handed me the reins of a riderless horse.
And wordless still they turned away
And rode. There was thunder of hooves,
Snorting of horses, streaming manes and tails.
Cloaks cracked like whips in the wind of their going.
And faint and far I heard one call
"Wha daur meddle wi me?"
And there I stood at the garden gate
With the reins in my hand and the wind in my face
And a white steed warm beside me.
Why should I walk, on two slow feet, when
Four hooves might bear me fast and far?
I went into the lands I knew, and then beyond.
I rode about the lands I'd found, and they also
Were no longer wide enough; I became
A border rider, traveling far.
I was not born to that country
Though I came there young.
I love it well, the gardens that
Another grew, and those that
I myself have planted.
I go there still at times, but
Long since I threw them open
For other eyes to see, and other hearts
To love, and other hands to tend.
Long since I rode out
Beyond that fair country's borders
Into new lands where none had walked,
Where the Road that I followed ran
West of the Moon and East of the Sun
In a land that was new and old at once.
Mine was the task to tell its tales, and
Hope that others some day might follow.
I had to learn to walk
Before I could learn to ride;
I had to walk in that first fair land
Before I could ride the border.
It pleases me still to walk there betimes
In the gardens so many have tended;
But the horse the night wind brought for me
Is ever at my shoulder.
The steed that bears me furthest
Is lighter than the wind -
With silver is it shod before
With burning gold behind.
Perhaps I'm but a foolish lassie,
A blacksmith's daughter ill-advised;
But give me a choice, and I'll ride when I can,
In the lands that I found just waiting for me,
Out beyond the Border.