The Lovers

T.C. Hart, “Storm at Sea”

Her love had sailed to far away
on a merchant ship of middling size,
she watched from shore through ocean spray
and the day turned gloomy with greying skies.

She heard the wind sigh, “beware, beware,”
the sun glowed weakly on the rocks,
the strands of seaweed looked like hair,
and no ships sailed up to the docks.

The news came later of storm and wreck,
of her love and others thrown in the waves,
though the captain shouted from the deck
the sea often gives, but seldom saves

a ransom to the gods below.
She wept and cried, “instead take me,”
piteously, she was lost to woe,
she swore bride she’d be under the sea.

No grave, no grave to put her in
for she’s gone to join him, all agree.
No mourners there, or other kin
but come midnight, there the lovers be.

They walk upon the rocky sand
as the stars sparkle like wedding gems,
and you might see them hand in hand
but the moonlight shines right through them.

An old-style ghostly ballad for Lucy, who is guest-hosting at dVerse. We recently watched a live-streamed Richard Thompson concert, where he did a lot of the old Fairport Convention songs. I borrowed, the repeated word grave (though with opposite meaning) from “Matty Groves.”

53 thoughts on “The Lovers

  1. Ooh, I love this. Repetition is one of my favorite literary devices to see in traditional poetic forms, like ballads. I love how you included that, and it really reminds me of Walt Whitman with his sea imageries, though his poetry included war of course.

    This is a very tragic ballad, and it employs a theme of not being able to live without the other. That’s visceral and emotional. My favorite stanza is this:

    “No grave, no grave to put her in
    for she’s gone to join him, all agree.
    No mourners there, or other kin
    but come midnight, there the lovers be.”

    I like how it ends, although grim with both of their demise, happily with the lovers reunited. Astounding poetry, yet again. I really enjoyed reading your take on the prompt!

    • Thank you so much, Lucy!
      I’m pleased I had a chance to get this one in. I love listening to those old folk ballads.

      Yes, I thought that, too, about the ending–grim but happy that they’re together. Perhaps it’s my subconscious thinking about my mom.

  2. I love this! I think you captured the mood Lucy was after better than I did. This is ghostly sad, but I wouldn’t call it dark, just typical awful as life was for many people not too long ago 🙂

  3. This is very engaging Merril. A sad tale indeed. The shining right through phrase put a small smile on my face, Although I probably shouldn’t smile about tragedy. I enjoyed this piece very well, excellent writing!

  4. Perfect in spirit(s). I have been having trouble writing anything coherent, and this prompt was no exception. But I might come back to it.
    I’ve seen Richard Thompson probably 10 times, once with his son Teddy. He never fails to be amazing, both in acoustic form and rocking with a band. (K)

    • Thank you, Kerfe.
      I’ve had days where I couldn’t write at all either. We’ve seen him in the past, but not recently. This live streamed concert was actually quite enjoyable.

  5. This is perfection!! Somehow it brought to m ind the old ditty Darling Clementine”. I probably date myself, and no one will remember it.

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