Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Tower Song




The picture, by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, is another Pre-Raphaelite medieval.


Regular rhyme is not my metier.
I am too clumsy and impatient with it.
Sometimes though, a pattern invades one's head and only exorcism expells it.
So, with my apologies:




You heard me when I sang from this gray tower
I was lonely and the words were sweet,
But I threw down no golden lure from my high window
Nor wove a silken snare beneath your feet.

For I am tethered here by duty and my honour
An enchantment stronger far than any spell,
So I sent you on your way like all the others
Before the tolling of the evening bell.

I suppose the legends drew you hither and a dreaming
Of yourself a hero overcoming all,
Perhaps you thought all women light and lustful
And eager to escape a liege lord's thrall.

You called me cruel, a lady without mercy
Who practised arts befitting more a crone.

The shore birds circle high and then wing southwards
And sorrow, light as shadows, falls like stone.

No magic here beyond a summer's magic,
The flower's withered and the summer's done.

25 comments:

Carla said...

That's lovely, Bernita.

Muse said...

Wow. This is beautiful, lovely, powerful. Haunting.

December Quinn said...

Very nice. I especially like how wistful the last two lines are.

Bernita said...

You're kind, Carla.
Thank you.

Thank you, Muse. I always felt La Belle Dame Sans Merci was unfairly maligned.

Glad you liked them, December. Thank you.

Jaye Wells said...

Chivalry, maidens and coffee are a nnice way to begin the day. Thanks, Bernita.

jason evans said...

Poignant. Perhaps she wishes to go back.

Bernita said...

Thank you for stopping by, Jaye.

Women are complex creatures, Jason.

writtenwyrdd said...

You have a gorgeous and mellifluous use of language in your poetry, Bernita. Of course, you do in your prose, as well.

Bernita said...

If only it were truly so, Writtenwyrd, but thank you.
Much.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Cool! It reminded me of Repenzel!

Ric said...

Very lovely.

Bernita said...

Good, Bonnie!
Like to infer as many as I can from the magic canon.

Thank you, Ric, a theme quite suited to your sensitive style actually.

James Goodman said...

Oh, that is absolutely lovely, Bernita.

anna said...

I am usually not fond of poems that rhyme but this is lovely.
'for I am tethered here by duty'
I think most women, even in this modern age, think this way.
great close.
Enjoyed!

Bernita said...

James, thank you.Hope you did indeed enjoy it.

Thank you, Anna.
People, to read some really good poetry - stop by Anna's blog.

Carla said...

I'm old-fashioned enough that I like poems that rhyme. It helps me remember them, and I like having odd lines and couplets of poetry in my memory.
I thought of Rapunzel too.
I also thought of the converse, the woman who isn't 'tethered here by duty and my honour' (lovely line), like the squire's lady in Black Jack Davy or The Raggle-Taggle Gypsy. I know which I admire more.

Someone once observed rather acidly that the poets who are always urging women to sleep with/run off with men other than their husbands all seem to be men.

Bernita said...

Carla, I too confess to liking to read rhyme and for the same reasons - corrupted in my youth I suppose.
It's just not a mode I have much facility with.
Am so pleased the Rupunzel line came across.
That acid thought does leap to mind, does it not? There, also,I am also old-fashioned enough not to think much of covenant betrayal.

Steve said...

Well done. If only I could express so well.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Steve. I'm sure you can, even better.

creation said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EA Monroe said...

Hi Bernita. You have such a gift of weaving magic with your imagination and words. I wish you could capture it in a magic potion and send me a bottle!

Another source for inspiration -- the paintings of the old masters. A blog friend jarred my art history memory a while back with a reference to Peter Brughel the Elder. When I lugged out the 20 lb. art history book, I found scenes inspired by his paintings in my wips that I had forgotten. Must've seeded the subconscious!

Bernita said...

EA...only if you do the same for me...
Thank you.
Odd you should mention Brughel, my Damie compares an outer bailey scene to a Brughel - very busy.

Jeff said...

I enjoyed this very much, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Pleased you did, Jeff. Thank you.

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