The changeling

After writing a Minute poem, which was okay as far as it went, I thought I’d extend the idea to make a true ballad form.

The changeling

They came and stole my child away,
on silent feet,
that flew so fleet,
they came and stole my child away,
one bright and sunny day.

They’d cast a spell upon my sleep,
the crib they found,
made not a sound,
they’d cast a spell upon my sleep,
I dreamed in shadows deep.

I dreamt I saw a fairy host,
with faces bright,
that lit the night,
I dreamt I saw a fairy host
that stole what I loved most.

And when at last I raised my head,
saw gold-bright hair,
a sea-blue stare,
and when at last I raised my head,
my heart was filled with dread.

Yet sometimes on a midnight clear
I hear my child,
so free and wild,
yet sometimes on a midnight clear,
her happiness I hear.

My fairy child you’ll have no throne,
gold in your hair,
nor gold to wear,
my fairy child you’ll have no throne,
but I will love you as mine own.


The sun is on the meadow

The sun is on the meadow

The sun is on the meadow,
the hawk is on the wing,
and beneath the leaves’ dry murmur,
I can hear the chaffinch sing.

But the air is growing colder,
the nights are clear and bright,
and our hearts are growing older
with the failing of the light.

The sun is on the meadow,
though the wind is rising loud,
the hawk banks on the wild gusts,
soaring high, so fierce and proud.

I see winter in the cold stars,
in the glitter of their gaze,
and chaffinch, hawk and lovers
all regret the golden days,

when the sun was on the meadow
and winged the world with song,
but they’re gone the birds and lovers,
and the winter will be long.

Sweet child of mine

I had thought this would occupy me most of this evening, but it has taken roughly ten minutes. For dverse.

Sweet child of mine

The light is dying in the west
Time I love best
That I love best
Daylight is dying in the west.

The swallows gather on the line
Oh child of mine
Sweet child of mine
Bright swallows gather on the line.

Like them you’ll spread your wings and fly
Remember why
Remember why
I taught your childish wings to fly.

This home will keep your laughter bright
I’ll hold it tight
Lamp in the night
Your home will ring with laughter bright

Though light is dying in the west
While swallows gather on the line
And you will spread your wings and fly
Here’s still your home, sweet child of mine.

The lady of the night

For dverse. Gothic as a form is hard (for me) to take seriously, so I’ve chosen a ballad form and camped it up a bit.


A bird flew out of the turret
As the last red light was dying,
The call of a distant egret,
Clear as the last child crying.

The sounds of the darkness grew louder
With the waning of the light,
And monstrous beasts stalked prouder
With the swelling of the night.

She wandered the paths at midnight
From hill down bloody glen,
Hoping the beacon searchlight
Would light her home again,

But the tangle of bramble’s a traitor
And caught in its cruel embrace,
She was bound in the dark to wait for
The one who would steal her face.

A bird flew out of the turret
When horror invested the place,
The shriek of the pure white-plumed egret
Is the song of her lovely dead face.

With hand held tight

A folly poem for the dverse prompt.

She took his hand and led him to
the balustrade of palest stone,
as smooth as pebbles ground by tides,
cradled by the waves and rolled
in sand, the dust of stolen pearls.

He took her hand and followed where
the waves crashed on the cliff below,
and stars shone cold and bright above.
She took his hand and held it tight,
as folly danced among the waves.

Her hand held tight above the din
of breakers on the cliff below,
he whispered words that neither heard;
though starlight crowded all about,
they leapt for all was black despair.

I hope you don’t mind me turning this into a propaganda post, but today I published my first collection of poetry, a chapbook thicker than water and I am so pleased with myself! I won’t leave mercantile links here, but you can get them from this blog post.


The leaves upon the water

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.

By the apple tree

Another apple ballad, this one written with a particular tune in mind. I wonder if anyone hears it?


I met my love by the apple tree,

We sat and talked of the life we planned,

The little house on a piece of land,

By the apple tree,

By the apple tree.


I gave my love all the love he asked,

His words were soft as the summer rain,

His lips so sweet we forgot the pain,

It was love he asked,

It was love he asked.


We knew our plans were the stuff of dreams,

No land, no house would we ever see,

Brief stolen joys, for such as we,

Are the stuff of dreams,

Are the stuff of dreams.


I gave my love by the apple tree,

Though I knew he would have to leave,

The men they go, and the women grieve,

By the apple tree,

By the apple tree.




I gave my love an apple

A ballad for the dverse prompt.


Beneath the trees, we used to walk

From blossom time to red gold fall;

Beneath the trees we used to talk

And listen to the wild geese call.


You’d give to me a posy made

Of honeysuckle, roses sweet;

We’d sit in summer’s dappled glade

And little thought time passed so fleet.


At autumn’s gold you picked for me

Blackberries dark, redcurrants tart,

And said beneath the apple tree,

The time had come for us to part.


I plucked an apple ate the white

And fragrant fruit, said in reply,

Leave if you must, take ship tonight,

My love I’ll keep, until I die.


I plucked an apple from the tree,

Gold as the sun, I kept it till

Another came to sit with me.

He brought his love; it’s with me still.

A heart lost at sea

Painting ©Voyen Koreis


The Sea King’s daughter let him go,

In magic sleep could not resist

Her father’s men, who carried her

Where kelp and deep sea currents flow.


I watched them from the cliff top high,

My love go hunting while Clíodhna

Slept in a sleep by magic cast.

He never guessed; no more did I.


Ciabhán returned and when he found

Clíodhna gone and where she’d lain

The sand as smooth as was her cheek,

He raged for fear his love had drowned.


I took his arm—he had my heart—

And tried to tell him she was gone,

That fairy folk can never love

A mortal; they are doomed to part.


He flung himself into the wave,

Not once but nine times cast ashore.

His brothers begged me call him back,

As if my love his life could save.


But who can summon love in one

Whose heart is drowned beneath the sea?

The Sea King’s realm is where he’d be,

And I’m forgot; our time is done.