A ballad for the dverse prompt.
Dead leaves fall on the pool beneath the willows,
Red gold just like the colour of your hair,
As it lay against the linen of the pillows,
While the wind blows through the branches stripped and bare.
The wind blows through the branches sighing sadly,
A song of summer past, the swallows flown,
Of storm and gale and sea swell crashing madly,
And those who left, while I sit here alone.
I sat and watched the leaves drift on the water,
Too happy to see how some men deceive,
When I was full of pride in our first daughter,
And you were thinking of a way to leave.
You left, before the budding of the sallows,
The fever struck when came the winter cold,
The fever took the child too at all Hallows,
And I am left with naught but to grow old.
43 thoughts on “The leaves upon the water”
Jane, this is incredibly, incredibly dark and so evocative to grief in relationships and death of a loved one. This is chilling and very solemn in the mood and execution of this piece. The second stanza is my favorite set in this ballad, as it foreshadows to me the changes in the season to winter, where death can often occur. Very beautifully entwined with chilling imagery. I love it.
I’m pleased you like it, Lucy. I forgot it was supposed to be dark, just got into the swing of the story and it came out the way it did.
Love it all JD, and esp the stanza break, “thinking of a way to leave. // You left, ..”
Thanks Ron. Sometimes the rhymes are there when you need them.
So beautiful and sad at the same time. Your poetry is lovely xx
I’m glad you like it. I’d always rather read sad or melancholy poetry than cheery stuff.
This is a sad ballad of loss and changes in the seasons of life. The grief is felt.
Thank you 🙂
Goodness that last stanza is so sad. This is moving ballad of great loss, specially that of the child.
Thank you, Grace. I think the best ballads are sad ones.
Thank you! I’m pleased you liked this 🙂
A very sad tale indeed! Left abandoned and loss of a child … can’t get too much darker than that!! Well done Jane!
It’s certainly a small tragedy. Thanks Dwight 🙂
A wrenching lyrical ballad of betrayal and loss – the compounding darkness against the background of leaves and water is so beautifully done!
Thanks Dora 🙂 I enjoy getting this style to work out, the story fitting the rhythm fitting the rhyme.
Lovely piece Jane – I liked the sense of potential cut off in this- and that final plain short-syllable line ‘I am left with naught but to grow old.’ like a bag of spuds falling down.
That’s a good way of putting it. Life must have felt like that for so many women, only any use if you had a husband and produced babies, and if you lost your man, well, you only had yourself to blame, didn’t you?
A sad and haunting lament beautifully written, Jane!
Thanks Ingrid (if this comment will post)
I’ve been having trouble answering your comments. I don’t know what, but I keep getting a red error message.
You know your ballads! Elegant and sad,an age old story that’s always a surprise.
Thanks, Sarah. It is an well worn copy, but that’s part of what ballads are, I think. We know the plot really, but always hope it will come out differently.
Sarah’s right – you know your ballads, Jane! This one reminds me of the art of the Pre-Raphaelites. I love the steady pace of it, the repetition of the ‘wind blows through the branches’, which moves the poem back and forth in time. Unfortunately, the third stanza was too close to home for comfort for me:
‘When I was full of pride in our first daughter,
And you were thinking of a way to leave.’
Such a tragic ending.
Thanks Kim, I enjoy writing in this style. I forgot it was meant to be dark, just got into the ballad mood, which is often simply low-key sad, the sadness of ordinary people. I’m glad you like it 🙂
What is entailed Jane it’s the foundation for revenge in some folks hands made me sad made me angry made me keep breathing well written
Thank you, Rob 🙂
Too many stories like this. Ballads remind us that the world is full of grief–best to appreciate when our lives flow otherwise. (K)
The fact that the same story repeats and repeats, and is always familiar must say something about us, our inability to be decent with one another.
More evident every day.
Reblogged this on BOOK CHAT and commented:
A beautiful and heart-wrenching ballad from Jane Dougherty. Please hop over to her blog and read this and other examples of her brilliant poetry.
Thanks so much, Michelle 🙂 I love a ballad to get the tear ducts working.
My pleasure, Jane. Be safe.
You too 🙂
This is so terribly dark and sad, and I must say that just like Kim I thought of some art of the Pre-Raphaelites. She sitting there by the water mourning.
Thanks Björn. I’m pleased you heard the sadness.
So sad, dark, and well done! I get the comments about pre-Raphaelites, too.
I couldn’t read yours till I wrote mine. I almost wrote a similar tale (of course I did) 😀, but I went for a variation.
I saw that you were posting the same minute I posted mine this evening.
I’m glad you like it 🙂
I came from Michelle’s blog and your ballad is so beautiful, yet heart wrenching. The loss and sadness in those last two lines is palpable. Beautiful writing, Lauren
Thank you! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the poem. It’s a style that’s gone completely out of fashion, but it works, like old films still ‘work’ despite not having any special effects 🙂
“When I was full of pride in our first daughter,
And you were thinking of a way to leave.”
I wonder how often that happens?