Sunday, April 5, 2009

Poetry Train Monday - 95 - God Knew Her Pledge

Today's found poem comes from my vampire WIP, featuring a Dark Ages Welsh warrior named Peredur. This poem introduces Tanwen, Peredur's betrothed. She waits for her warrior to return from the fighting against the raiding Irish - only to receive news she does not want to hear.

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God Knew Her Pledge

Fighter from Peredur’s war band
Stood with Father, talking
In a low voice
The two looked towards her

Tanwen’s pulse stopped

Mother stood near
Tanwen didn’t want her there
Didn’t want to hear words of comfort
Could not bear an embrace

That was not her beloved’s

Horrid shuddering started
Her teeth knocking together
Brother, sisters stared at her
One look in Father's eyes

And she knew

Tanwen turned, walked calmly from them all

Path before her shimmered
Tears balanced on lashes
She knew these dips, rises blind
Feet carried her to crag overlooking the bay

Dampness beaded her hair

Awash in tears, inside and out
Seeped unbroken stream
Thought her heart had broken
If she had a heart left to break

Sea birds glided between coast and surf
Crying out her anguish with their shrieks

Why love such a proud man?
Peredur never listened
She told him he was all she needed

He kept leaving her to fight

To win a name for himself, he’d said
So Father would agree to a match
Where did that leave her?
Betrothed to a corpse

Sobs punched their way through her chest at last

Curled into herself, clutched tight
With arms that could not stop the mourning
Could hear noises, wondered where they came from
Even as her throat ached from crying

She saw nothing except his green eyes
Felt nothing but the whisper of his breath
This couldn’t be real
He was too powerful

Too swift, too expert a fighter

To go down to a spear
The man was mistaken
Peredur was alive somewhere
He couldn’t be gone

Why did she totter on rocks
Slick with mist? Why did she want the
Pain in her chest to stop squeezing? Why
Wasn’t it Peredur arrived at her father’s door

To finally ask for her hand?

Wiping sleeve 'cross her face
Tanwen emerged from the darkness of shock
Felt a presence behind her
Tanwen paused as she turned

Cavan, son of village wise woman

Pale gray eyes gazed upon her
As though he knew
What lay screaming in her heart
Shaking her head, tears starting anew

“It can’t be! It can’t be true!”

Cavan gestured to boulder behind them
“Come and sit with me awhile.”
Cavan helped her to sit
Tanwen’s face felt pummeled

By so much crying

Where could tears come from
When she felt so numb inside?
Cavan turned object in his hand
Her gaze rested on a ring

The ring Peredur’s father had given him

“Where did you get that?”
“Peddler sold it to mother.
She held it in her hand
She saw it all before her.

Everything that happened."

Tanwen fought the urge to grab it
Cavan held it out, dropped it
Onto her outstretched palm

Metal touched her skin
She thought of the ring slipped
From Peredur’s cold hand
Reality ripped a gasp from her throat

Ring nearly tumbled onto scraggly brush

Cavan wrapped solid hands around hers
Ensuring her grip with his own
Tanwen sagged till forehead touched her wrists
If Cavan were not there she would pass out

Crying started again

She could not listen to it
As though
She were someone else
She would not hold her beloved’s ring

If he still lived

She never spoke her pledge of fidelity
Before the village
She’d said it often in her heart
God knew her pledge to be true

He knew that today she became a widow

- Julia Smith, 2009


Dorothy said...

Lovely and powerful. I liked it.

Haven't been around visiting much. Life things keep getting in the way and have kept me very busy.

I'll try to come by more often


anthonynorth said...

This captures the nature of conflict - and the cost.

Shelley Munro said...

Aw, that's sad. You do a great job with your poems, Julia. :)

Amy Ruttan said...

Another fantastic edition. I could feel her pain.

Jeeves said...

Wonderful. Poignant. So much pain expressed here.

SweetTalkingGuy.. said...

Moving account, you just have to feel for her!

Fledgling Poet said...

So tragic...I could feel her complete devastation.