September 13, 2010

John Riley

No, kind Sir-
I cannot marry thee-
For I've a love who 
sails the deep salt sea-
And he's been gone
these seven years-
But still no man

shall marry me-
-John Riley

[Traditional English Folk Song, derivative from Homer's Odyssey] Painting: Miranda The Tempest by John William Waterhouse

When I wrote the poem below I wasn't particularly happy with it. But discovering it yesterday amongst my many stagnant drafts in my e-mail Inbox- I thought it sweetly ironic that I wrote it the night before my dad had his heart-attack.

there is a tune my father knows
somber and sweet as the sea-
about two lovers parted
but faithful for always
till he finds her and they happy be

my father and mother
they sing this song
a duet which dawns with my mem'ry
always together- the He and the She
they make their love ballad ring

but this week she's away
and I- find it easy to forget
but oh! not so with he!
for as I crept off to bed
out my window I heard
Dad pluck those chords, so gentle and sweet
and I knew as his love song arose alone in the night
that, Mother, he was playing for thee