Poem – THE DUEL

THE DUEL

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.

***************

 

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