Saturday, October 27, 2007

Farewell My Love by Karen Stay Ahlstrom

Farewell My Love

"Farewell my love, but return soon
And meet me here beneath the moon
By the garrison gate, and come what may
That morn shall bring our wedding day.

"For our leige lord hath called to war
And thou must ride for him once more.
His summons will not brook delay
To wait until our wedding day.

"Not one month hence we were to wed
And could have shared our marriage bed,
But as thou now must go away
We must postpone our wedding day.

"Each night I’ll come. I will be true
Beneath this tree I’ll wait for you.
And in thy care, my heart will stay
Till thou dost come back home to stay.

"The trumpets blow the captains call.
Fight well my love, and do not fall.
As thou dost go the foe to slay
Swear thou’lt return to me one day."

He swore the oath that he’d not fail.
He kissed her hand. He donned his mail.
She whispered as he rode away,
"I will await our wedding day."

Each night she stood by garden gate--
Nearly a month till cruel fate
Did send her news the first of May
Which would have been her wedding day.

A messenger sent from the king
Arrived that day tidings to bring.
Her knight was lost and none could say
If her true love yet lived that day.

When she was told, the maid did weep
And yet resolved her vow to keep.
"I told my love," the lass did say,
"I would await our wedding day."

So still each night she waited there.
Each passing day she grew more fair.
Though suitors thronged, she told them nay
She would await her wedding day.

One night the moon shone up above.
She saw the shape of her true love,
Ran to his arms and there did say,
"This morn shall bring our wedding day"

He spoke no word, but held her tight
And there they stayed till the first light
Of dawn did shine with golden ray
And heralded the break of day.

Yet as he felt the golden glow
He kissed her once, then turned to go
And with a cry of deep dismay
She saw her true love fade away.

"I’ll follow you where’ere you go
To heaven’s gate, or down below!"
And with conviction she did say,
"This day shall be our wedding day."

The spectre shook his weary head.
"The living can but mourn the dead.
Thy oath hath been fulfilled this day
And thou must learn to live I say."

Then he was gone. The lady cried.
When she arose, her eyes had dried.
Just as the night gives way to day
Her grief at last had passed away.
--Karen Stay Ahlstrom

Here's a poem that I wrote myself. It's the first one I've posted on my blog. The rest can be found by following the link in the sidebar. If you want to sing this as a sad song, it's written to fit to the tune of "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie."

I'm posting it today because it's a ghost story--though not really a scary one. Originally, the lady did follow her true love by dying of a broken heart after the ghost left. If you look at my state of mind when I wrote it, you can probably understand why. It was 1999, while I was engaged to Peter the first time, and if you recall, that was about when I really hit rock bottom with my depression and anxiety for the first time as well. I wrote this poem because I liked how very sad the tune sounded, and I wanted to write about the saddest thing I could think of. After I got treatment and began to recover, I rewrote the poem to have a happier ending.

I've also been noticing the rhythm of poems lately, especially since someone I know asked me to critique a poem they wrote. If you're just starting out writing poetry, and want to make sure you have decent rhythm and scansion, you might consider picking a tune that has the same feeling as the poem you're hoping to write, and then fit the words to the tune. It really helped me to know where accented syllables belonged or didn't, and when I could fudge by adding an extra syllable at the beginning or end of a line without throwing the rhythm off.


  1. It's a beautiful poem Karen!! I like it everytime I read it. I like
    both endings, but often wish that it were easier to die of a broken
    heart than it is. Today marks a year since I found out my Mom had

  2. Hi! I love your poem, Karen. Could you send the first ending? I think that the poem would be good both ways, because even though in the first ending she dies of a broken heart, it's somewhat romantic that she does. I probably think that because that Steve leaves tomorrow...


  3. I've been loking around for the first ending, but I may have thrown it away once I put it online. If I come across it in the next few days, I'll definitely send it out.

    Thanks for the compliment! -- and good luck with the whole separation thing.