It was a north wind day, which meant that the view to the islands was fine, and the sea was a deep, deep blue, but the air was raw and cold. Algy flew up onto the headland in the late afternoon, when the shadows were growing long, and perched in a special place he knew, where an old tree stood framed in a gap looking out towards the isles. He was thinking of friends far away, whose lives were also full of shadows at this time, and he remembered a poem by Walter de la Mare:

          Sweep thy faint strings, Musician,
            With thy long, lean hand;
          Downward the starry tapers burn,
            Sinks soft the waning sand;
          The old hound whimpers couched in sleep,
            The embers smoulder low;
          Across the wall the shadows
                 Come, and go.

          Sweep softly thy strings, Musician,
             The minutes mount to hours;
          Frost on the windless casement weaves
             A labyrinth of flowers;
          Ghosts linger in the darkening air,
             Hearken at the opening door;
          Music hath called them, dreaming,
                 Home once more.

[ Algy is quoting the poem The Song of Shadows by the early 20th century English poet Walter de la Mare. ]

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