Twilight on Thompson Hill
By Steve Veilleux, PL 2023-

It’s twilight on Thompson Hill and I with Lil
On a long leash am still with my thoughts
And hers on the Common,
An early Autumn breeze swirling leaves and memories.

Its twilight on Thompson Hill
A lone Ford pickup approaches the Stop Sign,
a lone driver heading home
Anticipating a quiet evening,
Hope of a filling meal, a place to lay his shoes.

Lil tilts her head on Thompson Hill
A seeming interest in the orange turning
Dusk through the windows of the Mason House,
Painted now with the warmth of the setting sun,
And soon the dimming violets of twilight.

The electric lights of the grand old homes on Thompson Hill
Mark the evening,
The half-lights of Fairie fill the dusk
And Lil sniffs at the cooling air upon the Green
And stops when she spies the first crossing
Of the Spirits on Thompson Hill.

First upon the Green, outfitted in his finest Victorian clothes,
Larger than life, as he was when at his tavern’s doors he stood,
Vernon Stiles, and by his side and equally wide
His stately wife, Lucy Goddard.
In the half-light, Lil pauses to sniff
at a growing thickness in the air.

A car horn flares, then fades in the distance
Replaced by the clop clop of horse hooves,
The crunching of loose stone and wet earth beneath carriage wheels,
The glimmer of candlelight from the shops along the way,
An open window, a long-skirted woman over the hearth,
A warm loaf in hand.

And we become aware of the faces from a past age,
The vital Barons, Savin and Wilkinson,
Grosvenor and Mason, Nichols and Watson.
Even now, they tower over the others,
Though their heads are bowed,
As if some understanding has pierced this realm,
An entanglement of spirit
Passing through one another as they could never in life

And the voices cry as one on Thompson Hill
Those who tilled the soil, those who milled the grain,
Who tamed the rivers, tamed the rain,
Who grew the land, who brewed the ale,
Who watch over these homes from beyond the pale.

For every mill and every mansion, for every man with vision
Here stand those who opened the canals to power the mills
to clothe and feed the Hills of Thompson,
who dug up the bones of the earth, and built the walls,
who shaped the bricks and mortared the stone,
and left their souls upon Thompson Hill.

The press of souls with picks and hoes, with workman’s awls and axes
These are the men and girls, the women and boys
Whose brows were wet with sweat and mortar,
whose souls tell the tales of Thompson Hill,

Our driver now, he looks both ways
Releases the clutch and crosses the road by Thompson Hill
And I with Lil, a casual wave
And we both towards home for another day,