Stone Poem

 

 

Stone Poem

 

The church yard is restless in winter shadow;

dying elms fret in a wuthering wind

beyond the wide hoar-frosted meadow,

whistling by headstones, cold as sin.

 

Then a raven croaks its grating chortle,

black eyes casting glances down

to where dark-clad people mourn a mortal,

who yielded her soul to Lucifer's crown.

 

One, a priest of tainted credence,

turns to face the mythic bird,

recalls his early years of grievance,

his childish pranks, the lessons learned.

 

He spies her headstone's pure white sheen,

“Here lies Emily. Peace at Last”,

and raising his eyes to the windswept scene

thinks: “No doubt, but my pain's never past”.

 

Forever haunted by a tragic torrent,

he re-lives the frightful sight anew:

young Emily, caught in the raging current,

no hope nor salvation; no rescue.

 

As a thin sun shines he remembers clearly

how he failed to heed her cries for aid,

ran from that awful place, paid dearly

for the fear his pounding heart betrayed.

 

She was plucked from the torrent by a braver man,

who became her life-long companion,

while the priest lamented his own life's plan:

endurance his bogus, his makeshift canon.

 

To his grief his ancient church resounds:

“We live our childhood in states of pleasure;

I am but a churchman, not Christ unbound -

no raven shall rob me of that treasure.”

 

Then “Emilyyyyyyyy.... ” echoes in the chancel pews

as he contemplates what he will refuse.

 

Chris Hubbard

Oxford

England

2016

◄ Winter Town

Time and Windows ►

Comments

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Chris Hubbard

Sun 24th Dec 2017 23:22

G'day Keith,

Xmas Greetings, and thank you for your thoughts on my Victorian-esque story. I tend to think that the setting and zeitgeist come from childhood memories of my grandfather's enormous old mansion house, dominant in its Lincolnshire village. Its garden had mature beech, elm and chestnut trees in profusion, from which rooks would comment endlessly. I'm certainly pleased that the first stanza had such a "chilling" effect on you!

I visited Las Palmas a couple of years ago on a cruise ship, and remember an excellent day ashore there. Your climate seems quite similar to ours in Perth -that is (not difficult to achieve) better than England's!

All the best for 2018,

Chris

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keith jeffries

Sun 24th Dec 2017 10:38

Hello Chris, I enjoyed this poem enormously particularly the opening stanza. I live in the Canary Islands in a very salubrious climate and the description you offer sent me rushing for a pullover. Thank you for this. Keith

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