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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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Note: title was changed 11-4-12

(A Mayberrie poem. This one follows Time Again , and the end of the series is coming soon. Thank you to those who have stayed with it!)

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He found his wounded soldiers

resting in the dunes

as they ate stale bread

and drank their watery ale.

They were weary of the battle

and muttered dark

amongst themselves.

A flock of gulls

flapped overhead –

he wished that he

could fly with them

and leave this bitter war

to join at last

his secret bride,

to have her at his side.

She held him

in his dreams at night

or was this just a torment

of the gods?

He watched his bleeding men

and knew

what they must do:

fresh troops were on the way,

it was time –

they must return

to Mayberrie.

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© 2012  Betty Hayes Albright

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For links to all poems in this series,

please click on  Mayberrie .

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(a Mayberrie series poem. This one belongs after the poem “Rumbling” and before “By his Side”. Sorry, they don’t always come to me in order.)

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There was a pounding in her head,

a shiver in her bones

as she staggered from her garden

and folded to the ground.

In bed she woke,

Old Woman from the woods

holding a cup of bitters to her lips.

Drink!  she commanded.

Stars, moons and goblins

swirled around her head

as she tumbled up the mountain

and sank into the sea.

And then she felt him at her side,

his hands cupping her face.

She swam into deep water eyes,

held him closely to her heart

until there were no shackles

holding them apart.

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When she woke

Old Woman sat nearby

and he was gone.

Where is he?  she whispered.

Old woman shook her head,

You must have dreamed, she said.

The kingdom is at war again.

He would never stay behind –

instead he leads his men.

Turning towards the wall she wept

and fell into a darkness

of nights taunting the days.

And then the fever broke.

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She looked around her room and saw

fresh bread and butter on the shelf

and broth warming near the fire –

but she was alone.

On shaky legs

she stumbled to the door

and pushed it wide,

greeted by the morning sun,

the restless trees, a solemn crow –

and hoof prints of a war horse

that had halted on the path.

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© 2012  Betty Hayes Albright

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For links to all poems in this series, please click on the Mayberrie tab at the top of this blog.

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(a Mayberrie poem – this one was begun weeks ago and belongs in the story before “By His Side”.)

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Not everything’s a sign,

‘tis true –

she knew this from experience.

But now the meadow

seemed to hold its breath

in strained uncertainty.

Birds stopped flirting through the trees,

there was no hum of bumblebees

rolling in the phlox.

She listened for the rustle

of a rabbit in the brush

but nothing moved

save for the cutting shades

of ravens on the path.

And then there came a rumbling

of thunder from the dunes.

An approaching storm –

or were those drums?

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© 2012 Betty Hayes Albright

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(For links to all poems in this series, please click on the Mayberrie tab at the top of this blog.)

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(a Mayberrie poem….)

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It was just a little wren

in song outside her window.

She pulled back the shutters

and he flew into her room.

Without fear he looked into her eyes

and held a steady bead

from just a reach away.

What sign was this?

A message from the battleground?

Was he near, or had the front

been pushed beyond the bay?

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He should have worn the crown –

the fighting would have ended long ago,

but no, the reigning king was obstinate

and in his cups.

He knew where her loyalty had lain

and banned her evermore

from the castle gate.

And so she lived her days

between the river and the sea

while her beloved led his men

to fight the current guard.

The many months wore on and on,

or was it centuries?

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She found some bread crumbs

in the pantry,

spread them on the table

for the wren.

He pecked at them

(to be polite, it seemed)

while peering at her face

as though to etch a memory.

Take me to him now!

she cried out suddenly –

take me to the bloody fields

to where he fights this war !

He fluttered ‘round her head three times

then through the window fast away.

She watched him till he disappeared

and wished that she could fly.

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©  2012  Betty Hayes Albright

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(a Mayberrie poem)

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It confounds the senses,

Tempest ( )

that roar between starvation

and delight.

She thinks the wind

is gnawing down her door

and hopes the rusty hinges hold.

But wait,

was that a knocking?

She holds her breath

and wonders –

could it be the war is done?

Or was it just a vagabond –

a  famished waif in need of bread?

She wraps a biscuit in her apron,

throws it through a crack

high in the wall

then steals into the cellar

where she beds

among the jars of broken harvest

waiting for this hungry storm

to pass.

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©  2012   Betty Hayes Albright 

 

.(image via Wikipedia)

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For the next poem in this series, please click on the Mayberrie tab at top of this page for the entire list. I’m working (slowly) on linking all the poems for a smoother “flow”.

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