One night, on hearing a piece of music, grief overwhelmed me. I sat down and wrote this poem, fifty-seven years after the event. I rushed into it with little regard to rhyme, rhythm or scan.
Ode to Jennifer
The strains of Carrick Fergus reeled my memories in,
while flooding tears filled my eyes.
Was it the time of youth I mourned
or someone lost and loved?
Back to the sea, midst the roar of waves
I wandered, pleading the night again,
hoping; waiting for she who never came.
It was the end of youthful love.
So pure, what wondrous dreams that lived
on each other’s breath.
destroyed by a felon, hate-filled till his death.
A dreadful deed, done in drunken desire.
Where are you now my other self?
What have they done, how do you fare,
has life been kind?
And, am I ever on your mind?
Across the years I find you in secluded places
your name in books, a friend bespoke,
lock of shiny hair, a faded photograph forever young.
Smiling, promising, our song you sung.
But I have aged, my love, and someone else now shares my heart
with those same promises.
Yet unexpectedly, upon a tune you call
and fill me with a love so strong that tears do fall.
You beckon, willing me to come
though I cannot: our time has passed, too many years.
Memories so long have run
But still I love you, midst my falling tears.
© Roger Britton
Roger Continues …
I just happened to put on some Celtic music and this song came on. Suddenly I started to tear and I realized that it was music from my youth, and my first real love: Jenny. We were both 15 and blissfully and naively in love. One night her stepfather, an ex-boxer, and a drunkard, punched her in the nose. Blood spread everywhere. He was jealous of our affection. After the assault, he locked her in her room so we couldn’t meet.
On that dreadful night, he also stomped in the spokes of her pushbike so that she couldn’t ride away. When he was asleep, she shinnied out her window and caught the last bus to Lismore. She sought refuge in a girlfriend’s house where she knew they would never look.
Anne writes …
Roger couldn’t find the original tune that moved him so much. And I couldn’t find his YouTube song to embed in the post. At least this version by Joan Baez expresses the theme of this post: Young Love