Gilbert Huntly: Four Poems of Love and Death ***

1.  Dark Waters

Dark waters to navigate;
A fractured mast, I fear.
So far to sail, so deep to sound,
No star by which to steer!

No smiling moon illuminates;
No beacon’s guiding light
Does offers hope, nor tend to ease
This journey into Night.

And to my God I pray now
This voyage soon to end—
And steer my craft and tortured sail
Into a milder wind;

To drift into the sunshine;
To lift my spirits high;
To still this storm which tears my soul,
Then beach me there, to die!

—   §   —

2.  No Return

Far, far across the roiling sea
My lover waits in reverie
While penning verse she writes for me—
And my return.

Her brow, so perfect and refined,
Casts shadows dancing on the rhyme
While candles flicker, marking time
For my return.

Her fingers, coaxing pen to write
Poetic love she feels inside,
Awaiting dawn, the changing tide—
And my return.

Alas! No more our arms we’ll link!
And as this noble ship does sink
I cry her name, while on the brink
Of No Return.

—   §   —

3.  Always and Forever

“Always and forever,” my lover said to me,
“Always and forever will I give my love to thee.”
Then I to her bestowed a kiss in token of reply
Knowing “always and forever” would amend
As time goes by.

That “always and forever” is a fantasy of rhyme
Becomes more clearly certain with the passages of time,
For flesh and blood does age and wilt—back to dust, again;
And where Always and Forever is—
No mortal can attain.

For “always and forever” is not for flesh and blood.
Always and Forever is a province of the gods;
And for the price of loving, they exact from us the pain
Of knowing “Always and forever” is
A promise made, in vain.

But, breaking not tradition, I bespoke the tale anew,
Saying “always and forever” would I likewise love her too;
For the concept of Forever makes our love seem fine and high;
So for “always and forever” will be told—
The soothing lie.

—   §   —

4.  The Truth in the Mirror

The looking glass reveals to me
A spectre which I seldom see—
The sight of me just as I am:
Of flesh and bone—a mortal man.

In younger days, with less reflection,
I thought I had achieved perfection:
Bullet proof . . . forever young.
And thus somehow to life I clung.

But now that days are getting grayer.
No more am I a carefree player.
I understand how I’ve been blest,
Sojourning here among the rest.

And I—like they—will wilt and die
(Oh fleeting Time, where did you fly?)
So soon the flesh to dust returns.
Ah, this too late—too late one learns!