This allegorical poem came out of my awareness of time passing, and a sense of the ultimately insubstantial or superficial qualities of much of this life that, as we grow older, seem less important or valuable than they once were.
Faith, old friend, so wise and fulsome,
faded beauty at end of day,
draw me aside in a beechwood spinney,
make me swear on the code within me,
look me square with gimlet piercing,
and speak to me of times that were.
Faith spoke at once, her meaning clear
as pellucid coral waters sway,
but sensed my fear of conversation,
leading quickly to obfuscation,
the road ahead so dark and rocky,
as my old heart will surely be.
I asked if she remembered dimly,
when Youth brought her flower'd disarray,
flung full along an eastern shoreline,
as prelates cast their empty moonshine:
could Faith withstand such ghastly onslaught?
is it easier to bend the knee?
Sad to say, she owned she could not,
would not, swear a fealty,
nor pledge allegiance, given falsely,
to suffering souls, so frail and wispy,
relying on unspoken memory,
with spirits broke upon the wheel.
My Faith was lost upon a moment,
as her own proved not to be
the kind enduring, ceaseless, withal
persistent, constant, in boundless thrall:
and yet had I not taken her
by the hand, along with me?
So there I stood, both still and silent,
remembering days of faithfulness,
of wine and cycling, beach and flame trees;
waiting for sou-wester sea-breeze,
thinking nothing, caring less
for Faith, or other reveries.
And there I lost her, in a Lincoln spinney,
as watered sunlight of summer morning
bounced off dew-grass beyond the beeches,
drama weighed by ravens' screeches;
for well am I now done with Faith,
inconstant traveller, capricious wraith.
Chris Hubbard, 2016.