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.


There was no way

I’ve written it, so I’ll post it. A lai (last one maybe) for the dverse collection.


There must be a way

To get you to stay;

You planned

On blue sky not grey.

I won’t let you stray,

My hand

Holds you here. Winds play,

Wild, in a ballet

Of sand.


Above the gulls’ screams,

Cloud-clash and rain-streams

I heard

Storm break. No sunbeams

Light the day; it seems


To sail, but your dreams

Make you, in your schemes,

A bird.


Come back, hold me tight,

This cannot be right;

It’s wrong!

No land bird takes flight

In a storm and night

So long.

Wait at least for light,

Glass-green waves curl white

And strong.


You left as dawn broke,

Scarce a word you spoke,

A tear

In your eye. I choke

On goodbye; you joke,

Don’t fear.

Sky wears a black cloak,

A harbinger’s croak

I hear.


On the night lake

Another of Paul Militaru’s photos with the lovely title of Night and snow over birds prompted this poem. Thank you, Paul!


On the night lake, grey gulls glide,

While snow falls thick upon the ride,

Where foxes pad and pheasants hide.

In summer waters small boats plied

Across the lake so smooth so wide,

Where mallards swim and grey gulls glide,

And many came here, sat and sighed

For lovers lost, for lovers died.

While snow falls thick upon the ride,

As cold as tears I’ve shed and dried,

Like stone I sit in lonely pride,

Among the gulls that drift and glide,

And wait for turning time and tide.


It was early in the morning II

The quadrille I just wrote for the dverse prompt was probably too short for the story, so this is the whole thing in ballad form.


It was early in the morning,

And the mist lay on the grass,

When I walked down to the willows,

Thinking how the time will pass,

As quickly as the sun dries

The cool tears of the moon,

If ever we must part, love,

It will always be too soon.


It was early in the morning,

And the mist lay on the ground,

I woke to find you leaving,

You had packed without a sound,

I caught your arm to keep you,

But you shook my hand away,

And your ship sailed on the ebb tide,

For no words could make you stay.


In the light of early morning,

And the fading of the day,

I watch from on the cliff top

For a sail out in the bay,

But the sea that took you from me

Is as silent as the grave,

Where you lie with none to mourn you,

Neath the cold Atlantic wave.


This is a poem inspired by the prompt for Day Four of NaPoWriMo. I’m not certain it fits exactly, but it’s what the prompt brought up. That’s poetry, I suppose.

The photograph ©Poudou is of the Chemin des Dames close to where I used to live in the Aisne.


The dawn breaks coloured blood,

and the roses are in bud,

the roses are in bud.


They say it will be hell,

still rosebuds begin to swell,

rosebuds begin to swell.


Though death sweeps through this room,

the roses are in bloom,

the roses are in bloom.


A country’s churned to mud,

but the roses are in bud,

the roses are in bud.



A Month with Yeats: Day Sixteen

As promised, today’s quote has been bumped up the list to correspond with the poem I wrote yesterday—one of the perks of running the challenge. We often see deer at the bottom near the stream or along the hedge to the west, but yesterday, a young male deer trotted right under the window of the study. I felt honoured. They are timid, keep well away from houses and usually bolt at the slightest sound or movement. He must have felt he had nothing to fear from us.

I’m linking this to the dverse open link night because I like it.


From ‘He Mourns for the Change That Has Come Upon Him and Longs for the End of the World’

‘Do you not hear me calling, white deer with no horns?’—W.B. Yeats


The deer in the meadow


In the mists of early morning,

The frost lay on the ground,

And the songbirds in the garden

Flew by without a sound.


As I watched the mist light swirling

On the meadow, frosty pale,

A deer, horns newly budded,

Stepped through the broken veil.


He stepped across the meadow,

His ears he turned to hear,

If the sound of my sighing,

Was a sound that he should fear.


He stepped up to my window,

With eyes so wild and deep,

As the sea that covers your bed,

Leaving me alone to weep.

Autumn acorn rain

An autumnal poem for the dverse prompt.



The sound of acorns raining on the roadway,

The dry leaf-whisper as the sun goes down,

I hear wings beat in the last light of the evening,

And colours fade to misty grey and brown.

You said you’d find the long road through the oak trees,

And make your home with me where blackbird sings,

But all I see are drifting leaves of gold and flame,

And all I hear is the beat of parting wings.

When winter grips the drifts of fallen leaves,

And the acorn rain is rotted on the ground,

The blackbird huddles on the bare oak bough,

As hope and this cold year both die without a sound.