Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson © 2009
A blushing face under a bonnet one day
Stopped my heart and roving eyes that May.
With swishing skirt she coyly walked,
Her voice, a soft whisper when she talked.
Could she have known? Did she see?
Could she tell from my look how she affected me?
She was like sweet nectar on a flower to be
Planted beneath the old withered tree.
Some will say that love is blind,
That eyes cannot see what the heart doth find;
A moment of pleasure, a moment in time,
No word spoken and no thought of mind.
Like a love that is destined from the start
Like a bud in bloom from out of the heart.
Pledging her love that day to me
We embraced beneath the old withered tree.
But there came another. Bold was he
intent on stealing my sweetheart from me.
“Too experienced in love,” they say,
he charmed his way to her heart that May.
His reputation followed. Stories told
of “a man who broke hearts, was callous and cold.”
I hoped she’d come back and want only me
to be married beneath the old withered tree.
Her hair in the wind, her face from the sun
trying to protect me, she started to run.
Wanting to shield me, she came to cover
my body from the bullet, the one from her lover.
She fell silent to the ground alongside me
her skirt turning red against my knee.
I carried her back to the spot where we
once sat beneath the old withered tree.
Yes, I was in love, and I was the fool
to challenge her lover to a duel:
the man who stole from me is now gone.
My remorse and regret adds more upon
my guilt and the sound of the wind like a song
singing a sad refrain of what I did wrong:
it plays a eulogy for my sweetheart where she
lies buried beneath the old withered tree.