We conquered mighty castles
Together, in blanquette or in the sand
Flew great heights on swings
Soared up Austin hills hand-in-hand
We shared in many battles:
Mastery in the great tragedy of Trigonometry,
Consumed Texas History and First Violin,
And developed a healthy skepticism of Allah and Deuteronomy
Some wars were personal:
The treachery of childhood friends;
While learning great truths—
That the means don’t always justify some ends
But today my princess walks ahead
Out of my guidance and out of my reach
No more to cavort on trampoline
Or harry stubborn castles on a beach
Her fresh adventure awaits—
Arm-in arm with her new young prince,
A meeting of Love and Good Sense;
She hasn’t been my princess since
But our regard hasn’t been stronger
Even if she is my princess no longer
Just a hint of Fall pushed thru the leaves
A glint on a spare drop of rain broke the dawn
A sigh with a crunch of sheets and the kettle was on
Passing the sugar bowl with a blush of fulfilled beliefs
Sally Gossamer Wingstep will wed today
In a copse overlooking Fablehaven
Most everyone arrived on time, tears and smiles
Most from nearby some flew many many miles
No one stirred except a spare goat and lost raven
Sally Gossamer Wingstep wed today
Fireflies announced nuptials complete
Margarita cheesecake and fairyfolk beer
A party magnificent, all in good cheer
Sally’s eyes captured her Marcus’s eyes sweet
Sally Gossamer Wingstep has wed
Off to the sea the newly paired flew off—
Jonathan waxed with web a story keen
All knew the story but listened to the happy scene
But twas time to go announced a listless cough
Sally Gossamer Wingstep-Featherstone is now wed
So took the turn
To Hudson Valley Road,
Passed an embarrassment of bluebonnets
And a mite scandal of cactus,
Trying to find my true love’s grave.
So found myself back in Kingsland
Between two hills and five sighs;
Drove beyond ‘show pigs’ and llamaland
And there found the ‘not by much’ iron gate
Of the Eternal Rest Cemetery, to
Drop off my two rose bouquet and
Sit to have a talk with Carol Bell. (She never
Much cared for her married name) but she married the other one—
With a job, and a house, and good sense to settle down with
A Texas beauty with brains enough to pick steady over party-crazy with dark eyes.
Dark Eyes eventually mostly stopped crying but here I was ten years after with nice
Store-bought flowers and tried with caught-breath to say hey.
Got back on Park Road 4 for the roller coaster ride back to civilization, sorry there were
No deer about to justify the Warning: Deer signs along the road. Phone rang…
Back to work, passing the scandal of cactus and the embarrassment of bluebonnets….
The light followed the star over the hill
As the fog rolled in with the cold
Twas a different kind of Christmas story
At least as far as I remember what I was told
A deep abiding affection afflicted the old man
And finally had the means to fulfill a promise
And many, many lonely miles he did trudge to deliver
A last bouquet of daisies to lay before his one fair miss
In younger, luckier days our man had paid fervent troth
To she who now dwelt in yon granite sarcophagus,
But a wrong spoken word had ended it all forever;
Such a piteous loss as to be endured by any one of us.
But our Vanity is a grievously jealous mistress;
And he could not, would not forgive, the slight by his true love.
Such tragedy our old man had scripted in a cold bile ink,
Disparaging of her and placing his wounded veil above.
Carole, the second beauty born of Marble Falls
On one lank Christmas Day between the great wars,
Loved above all Nature’s beauties the blue daisy—
She would fill her Mother’s pots, trestles, and jars.
Silas, our poor fool from a far crescent city east,
Would bring bouquets of blue daisies to ply his troth,
And won her heart, and a date sure was firmly set—
What could possibly set aside such as this Love’s oath?
A sorry, sad mistake came to undo our lover’s story:
Carole observed unartfully our Silas over harsh tone:
As blasted to the quick, Silas cast off his cheery mantle,
And demanded keenly by Carole to be left forever alone!
Oh, Silas! One word passed without art has chilled thee so?
And bereft of her future, our shaken Carole turned to leave.
Only alone, later in his poor ivory tower of hot wind and pride
Would he see his error and allow himself to grieve.
Carole, the second beauty born of Marble Falls,
Would later, at last, marry fairly well, if not too grand.
Silas, alone, tended to his vanity and found old age,
But twas Carole to first find her final rest at Death’s hand.
Silas, hearing of Carole’s passing, fell slow to his knees
And swore a prideless oath to take every Christmas Day,
In honor of Carole, his cast-off joy, a last birthday gift:
A simple arrangement in a pristine blue daisy bouquet.
The light faded over the hill after the star found its new home.
The old man had placed his bouquet when his heart beat its last.
The fog blanketed the granite and the bouquet and the sad.
Is loneliness the grand prize for a wrong word lost to the past?
Not all Christmases are all tinsel and cheer—
Silas and Carole speak to us in more mature themes.
Please, this Yule, find it inside you to forgive and forget
Or woe may scuttle your fonder, finer, future dreams.