Love and Words

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Baucis and Philemon

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Note:  In Ovid's fable, Baucis and Philemon were the only ones who showed hospitality to the Gods when they came, in disguise, to their city.  

In thanks, Zeus spared them when he destroyed the place and turned their cottage into a temple. He granted them one wish and they chose to stay together and when it came time for one of them to die, they wished that the other would die as well.

They served the Gods for hundreds of years. One day, Baucis looked up from his work in the garden and saw Philemon walking towards him in tears. He went and put his arms around her and they were transformed into two intertwining trees, one oak, and the other, linden.

Baucis

Beneath the linden tree

my love sheds tears 

and I remain,

rooted beside her,

my arms two boughs,

move me do the winds,

but never do I let go.


Her grief is inside me,

her loss my own.

My words, my life

I hold silent and still

for in this moment,

in this instant,

she needs not me,

but more of herself

then she has to bear,

and I have spent a lifetime

gathering her memories and hopes,

caring for them,

storing them in feathered places

should she need to find them again.


Here I shall remain

for as long as need be,

rooted firmly beside her,

my arms two boughs, 

Move me do the winds 

but never do I let go.


Philemon

How does a tree know

when the seasons are about to end?


I have watched myself grow older

in the body of my beloved

though his eyes

still see me with youth.

I have watched myself

grow old and frail

and kept my tongue silent,

when he speaks to me

of the things we will do

come spring.


My love.

My life.

Whose back is bent

and gait is slow shuffle, 

fingers thick

and wiry hair that grows

where there used to be muscle.


I remember your youth, 

but I love your age, 

for you chose to grow old

with me.


How am I tell you, 

how am I to break this silence

and tell you, 

that our time is at an end?


My love, 

My life, 

I promise you, 

seeds will root in this ground

I have wetted with my tears,

and trees shall grow 

that will bear our names

and they will never know

when seasons begin or end.


The wind through their leaves

will speak of our story of love 

and the kindness of Gods

so the world will never forget.

My love, 

My life, 

hold me and comfort me, 

stay with me, 

twine your limbs in mine,

remain with me,

and never let me go.

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decagon          poetry 

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