The Stranger Above the dark hill in the still Spanish night, The moon, a lone fountain of watery light, Demurely ascends, as she hides her fair face Behind misty veils of gossamer lace. Below, the small village lies dead as a tomb; Its few humble dwellings, enshrouded in gloom, Emit not a sound as the night hours wear on But for an occasional sigh or soft yawn. Who enters the village at so late an hour Emerging from darkness, beneath the bell tower? He crosses the plaza, his donkey beside, And slowly moves on, like the incoming tide, Enveloped in shadows, he winds through the town With slow, somber pace, like a watch running down. Past wide open windows and old weathered doors, Down murky back alleys the moonbeam ignores. So grim and foreboding a figure, he seems Some boogie man born from the townspeoples´ dreams! Yet no one responds with a sense of alarm, As if this strange visitor meant them some harm, For all lie like corpses, and no one takes note Of this one invading their world so remote, Their hamlet to which hardly anyone goes, Whose name and location no wayfarer knows. He passes beyond the last house and moves on Into the wide fields where the first light of dawn Shines dimly upon the tall grass laced with frost And soon disappears, every trace of him lost. But can he be lost whom no one has yet known? For none stirred awake as he walked all alone Sepulchrally silent, like some passing ghost Across the whole village from pillar to post. The visitor, nameless and faceless, has gone, His dark figure fled with the light of the dawn; A new day begun, life goes on just the same For those in the town... as if he never came! The Night of Solitude Under the starless sky so wide I walked for miles in solitude, Without a partner by my side To lighten my despondent mood. Through open fields and gloomy wood, Beneath the somber owl's eye, I walked in search of some lost good, My heart as empty as the sky. Until I raised my head and saw A radiant star come down from space, Whose shining made the night withdraw; I looked again---it was your face! Martin Rizley grew up in Oklahoma and in Texas, and has served in pastoral ministry both in the United States and in Europe. He is currently serving as the pastor of a small evangelical church in the city of Málaga on the southern coast of Spain, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Martin has enjoyed writing and reading poetry as a hobby since his early youth.