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(a Mayberrie poem)

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Once a week

she braves the village,

trades her woven scarves

for bread and cheese,

and candle sticks.

She offers just a veiled smile

and searches every face;

she dare not speak

of things she shouldn’t know.

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At dusk she climbs the deer path

to her cottage on the hill

and there she lights one candle stick.

As wisps of smoke slide up the wall

like lovers twined

she gazes at the flame and sees

battle-weary men at rest

tending to their fire;

and there!

in the shadowed edge

a single silhouette.

He turns her way

as though he feels her near.

 

She reaches through

the waxen light

and hangs her heart

around his neck,

then throwing kisses

to the night

she banks the fire

in his eyes

and blows the candle out.

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©  2012, 2017  Betty Hayes Albright

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(A re-post, revised)

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In spring she waits

for tethered clouds

to fly apart

so she can ride

the northbound sun

as it barrels through the trees.

She wonders if his sky is blue,

and if the shore

where they embraced

is held together still

with sandy logs

and braids of kelp.

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But today she takes the longing path

that weaves close to the river

with its folded banks

and tangled roots.

Waddled crows

once hopped the rocks

to warn them of intruders.

She wonders if he sees it still,

the vernal sun

that laced their days,

and if their memories are safe –

and do they intertwine?

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©  2012, 2017  Betty Hayes Albright

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(A Mayberrie poem – re-post, revised)

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Old castle rests on brambled shores

near curling leaves and browning lawn

as ivy coils through empty doors

where once his golden sword was drawn.

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For long ago the tower stood

shaped by wind and gleaming stones

and from the chapel in the wood

they heard the bell and felt the groans

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of lovers locked in false embrace

of thunder scavenged from the deep

where only he could show his face –

his mistress turned away to weep.

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They could not march beyond the hill

for fate had measured out their time

and all they touched was cold and still

and none could prove there’d been a crime.

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A dozen years but none to save

for lovers no more ring the bell.

Calla lilies crown the graves

where once an army rose and fell.

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And now the castle sleeps on shores

near curling leaves and browning lawn

as ivy coils across the floors

where once Excalibur was drawn.

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©  1993,  2016   Betty Hayes Albright

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(re-post of a Mayberrie poem)

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She’d waited long enough.

The time had come

to clear the near forgotten room

he’d carved into the earth.

Ancient harvests deep inside

would long be in decay.

She braced herself

and slow approached

the thick, elm door

(and later swore it opened

of its own accord).

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In the shaft of light

that followed

she was struck with wonder.

Instead of baskets

filled with crops

long gone to rot

there was the scent of quickening:

potatoes

with their eyes still wide,

beets the color of her heart,

carrots orange and smooth,

and onions with their papery skins

like pages of old memories.

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On the side were apples –

barrels of them, red and crisp

(she took a bite and begged forgive!)

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How could this be,

a place outside of time?

In haste she left

and sealed the door.

There would be no clearing out

(except for one sweet apple

which she secreted away).

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© 2009, 2016  Betty Hayes Albright

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(revision of an old Mayberrie poem)

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(A Mayberrie poem – re-post)

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And so, did you save

the key, m’lord?

Did you secret it away

to some safe isle?

I see you still

leaning at the threshold,

your face to be read

and kissed a million times

like a beloved poem.

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The chambermaid swears

the room never cooled.

She says the walls spark and flare

like the burning bush.

And at night

I fiddle with the lock, m’lord —

under what mat

did you stow the key?

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(c)  1995, 2016  Betty Hayes Albright

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(re-post)

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Her shawl gleamed brightly

in the sun.

She wrapped it tightly

in the cold of silent villagers

and climbed across the pile of stones,

breathing in the salt

of drying seaweed on the sand.

Looking out across the bay

she saw the cliffs of Mayberrie

and farther still, his castle.

(Was he pacing every hallway

or would he get some rest?)

Nothing stirred

except for something light

that flashed atop the tower –

no doubt just a gull.

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The bandages around his head

gleamed brightly

as he took his leave

from rites and duty

fleeing court for solitude.

Up the spiral staircase

to the tower’s top he climbed,

and there he gazed upon the sea,

and fishermen at peace.

Turning, he could see across the bay

to where her village rested

tucked above the rocks.

(Was she there, or had she fled?)

The distant beach was gray and still

except for something light

that moved

along the shore.

No doubt just a gull.

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© 2012, 2016 Betty Hayes Albright

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Have missed everyone on WP but planning to get back to reading blogs soon.

(Life gets too busy sometimes, along with the old chronic pain.)

Hope all of you are well!

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(For a list of all poems in this series, please click on the Mayberrie tab above.)

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(re-post of a Mayberrie poem)

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Come sing me a song,

beat hearty your drum,

my love, let me hear you

deep in the night.

I feel your eyes

sweeping the skies

searching for peace

in the waxing moonlight.  

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Reach out to the stars,

play loudly your heart,

your song is my blessing,

may love never part.

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Someday we’ll dance

’round the fire again –

love, send me a sign

that you’re all right.

I feel you out there

and send you my care,

come sing me a song

if just for tonight.

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Reach out to the stars,

play loudly your heart,

your song is my blessing,

may love never part.  

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© 2013, 2015  Betty Hayes Albright

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(A Mayberrie poem)

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She flew on a zephyr

in gossamer dress

and feather-weave shawls,

white ribbons behind her

and forget-me-nots.

Her hand reached out

in tender fair

to touch the brow

of the man with blue eyes.

Sprites leaped to the sky

at the moment of crossing

and through the low willows

a mandolin played

and the beating of drums

as every muse gathered

to dance in the glade.

And when she awoke

her breast was afire

while beyond the cliffs

and past the dry plains

the man with blue eyes

stirred in his sleep

and smiled.

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© 2015 Betty Hayes Albright

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I’d be honored to have you visit my Mayberrie Series.

It has yet to be decided where this poem fits in with the “story”.

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A Mayberrie poem – the conclusion (but never really the end)….

Thank you to everyone who’s had the patience to plow through this long series.

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Skipping Stones

….continued from previous post, “Through the Door”.

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Alas, it was all over.

The end had come –

or had it now?

When the world stopped spinning

she took a breath

and looked around.

What strange place was this?

Un-candled lights on the walls,

softly covered floors,

and what odd costume

’round her body?

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And there, a man –

also dressed in foreign clothes

was watching her intently.

He was not unlike her king

with penetrating eyes

that knew her better

than she knew herself.

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He reached out lightly,

touched her face,

explored her cheekbones,

chin and brow.

Drawn to him

(she could not stop herself)

she threw her arms around him

wanting nothing more

than to be with him forever.

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But this moment is just fleeting,

he whispered in her ear,

for we are two stones skipping

on the waves across the sea.

At the end

we’ll reach the shore together

for this love will always be.

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And so it is,

that in another time and place

neither king nor queen are they,

but carefree lovers

dancing underneath the trees

in the boundless fields

of a reborn Mayberrie.

And somewhere in the meadow

the old lady of the woods

hums an ancient melody

and smiles.

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(c) 2013  Betty Hayes Albright

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(A Mayberrie poem – prelude to the conclusion of the series.)

It’s been 6 months since the previous two poems were posted, so to refresh: the king was leaving a bloody battle to return to Mayberrie, hoping to reunite with his beloved. And “she”, from the opposite direction, had also made up her mind to make the journey to Mayberrie to search for him.)

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Through the Door

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The journey through the woods

to the castle

loomed before her now

with a reborn urgency.

She only hoped to find the king,

to look into his eyes again.

The sun glared brightly

even as dark clouds pressed in

from the coast.

The woods seemed strange, uneasy now

but still she trusted

this familiar trail,

and singing softly to herself

she began her trek to Mayberrie.

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By midday the clouds

began to shroud the sun

and distant thunder

echoed through the trees –

what new storm was this?

Rain began to hiss

through the trees

and she dared not stop to rest

but nibbled on a biscuit

as she hastened on her way.

It would be late afternoon

before the towers of the castle

rose above the trees.

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The rain fell harder now.

She pulled her shawl

tightly ‘round her head

as a sudden chill

rose in her breast.

The loud tromp of horses

echoed just beyond the rise,

their sharp hooves pounding harshly

even in the mud.

It was happening too fast.

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Before she could dive

into the darkness of the brush

a troop of soldiers

red-faced and unsmiling

spotted her.

She fled into the woods,

her shawl trailing behind her

as she heard the men dismount.

It’s her, one cried,

I saw the flashing of the ring!

Their voices cut through the gray

and spurred her on –

she knew the lady of the woods

lived just beyond

the trees ahead

and so her heart

rose to her throat

when just within a soldier’s grasp

she stumbled through the open door

and fell into a swoon.

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The king granted his injured men

to take an easier path

while he traveled with no guard –

he must do this all alone.

Dark clouds along the coast

impelled him now to hurry

and it wasn’t long

before a heavy rain

began to fall.

Then suddenly his horse came to a halt

without command –

there was a strange, uneasy fear

rising in the forest.

Like a knife

cutting through the afternoon

he felt the cut of treachery

and without cue

his steed turned off the trail

and headed down an old deer path

guided by his own sense of doom.

Through the thickening woods they fled

as far away he heard the angry shouts –

could it be they’d take his crown so soon?

The thunder of the troops

grew close

but then he saw ahead

a familiar stand of trees –

he was very near

the old lady of the woods.

He felt the tension in the muscles

of his horse

and let himself be carried,

knowing he must make it

through the cottage door.

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© 2013  Betty Hayes Albright

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To be continued with final poem, “Skipping Stones”….

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To read previous poems in this story, please click on the “Mayberrie” tab above. Links to each poem are listed, chronologically.

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