As sure as the stars shine

A short poem inspired by the picture for once


On the bank by the river all day long she waits

For a sight of the one who she calls her love.

He said he would come to take her away

As sure as the moon and the stars shine above.

She waits while the sheep wander over the lee

Hears only the larks and the bees’ busy hum

For the far bank is empty except for the trees

And the song of the wind that says he will not come.


By the lake



We went down to the lake that afternoon

Just you and I as we used to do.

As we walked you took my hand

And as ever my heart went out to you.


You skimmed a stone across the lake

Your hand so sure, so strong your face

And I smiled at the kingcups golden bright

That clad the banks at our favourite place.


The sun beamed down from a perfect sky

And the breeze blew soft as it does in June.

The scent of the pines recalled summers past

While the crickets chirped their hot dry tune.


The setting sun was at your back

As you sat me down on a fallen tree.

Your voice was soft as it always was

When you’d say sweet words meant just for me.


But you took my hand and it fit in mine

As you broke the news you had to tell.

Though your voice was as soft it destroyed my world

That day by the lake that I knew so well.


She listens to his cajoleries


I let you take me by the hand
To follow where you led
“I’ll share my dreams with you,” you said,
“If you follow where I tread.”

“I have dreams of my own,” I said,
“A thousand sights I’d see.”
You said, “I’ll show you marvels
If you choose to stay with me.”

“I’ll be your sun in the day,” you said,
“I’ll give you the moon at night.”
So I put my dreams in a leaden box
And I locked my dreams up tight.

A lifetime I lived in your shadow
As we followed your path, you and I.
And when next I opened my box of dreams
It was just to watch them die.

When the tide ebbs low


In the mud by the river
The kingcups grow
And the alders bow and the white gulls cry.
On the bank of the river rolling by
The tide runs high and the tide ebbs low.

In the reeds by the river
When the sun is low
Where the heron stands in the alders’ shade
The willow hangs over a secret glade
A rushy bank where the lovers go.

On the path by the river
Where the kingcups blow
And the heron stalks and the white gulls call
I saw my love where the reeds grow tall
And the tide runs high and the tide ebbs low.

In the reeds by the river
Where the sea breeze blows
He held her close and he whispered low
Were it not for me he’d be free to go
Where the wild geese fly and the river flows.

In the mud by the river
There’s a yellow glow
Where I tossed from my finger a golden ring
That flashed in the sun like a finch’s wing
For the sea to take when the tide ebbs low.

He asks for what he cannot have


Give me your hand, he said, he said,
Give me your hand so fair,
To show that you belong to me
I’ll set a gold ring there.

The gold gleams bright, she said, she said,
Beneath the morning sun,
But when the sky is full of clouds
Will its glittering not be done?

Give me your heart, he said, he said,
To make sure you will stay
I’ll lock it in a golden box
And throw the key away.

Hearts must be free, she said, she said,
A heart in a box will die
Unless it can spread its wings and soar
Like a bird in the morning sky.

I’ll give you my heart, she said, she said,
Until the seas run dry
If that’s not enough, I’ll leave, she said,
Like a bird in the morning sky.