If Truth Be Told

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A Villanelle

*

The men that catch my eye these days are few

The ones that do are married men, or mad

And truth be told I only fancy you

I doubt that in the pub or porch or pew

I’ll meet a man like you who makes me glad

The men that catch my eye these days are few

I could be looking but I seldom do

There’s only you for me, you ‘lucky’ lad

If truth be told I only fancy you

Until the day fate sends me someone new

I’m all for you, I know, it’s odd, and sad

But men that catch my eye these days are few

You make me happy, boy, you make me blue

I hold a torch for you, and I grow mad

For truth be told I only fancy you

I’ve told you something you already knew

I’m sorry, but I’ve really got it bad

The men that catch my eye these days are few

If truth be told I only fancy you

*

© Gail Foster 21st July 2017

The Crone and the Maiden

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for Idril

*

At Avebury, on Solstice eve, a crone and a maiden sat

The crone wore a weary wisdom, and the maid wore a flowery hat

And as the sun sank ‘neath the hill, and the sky flushed rosy red

The maid, her eyes all full of flame, turned to the crone and said

‘I know nothing of love, speak to me, of marrying, and men

How will I know if I lie with a man, that he’ll come to me again

How will I know if I lie with him, that his heart be faithful and true

They say that the crone knows everything, so tell me, tell me do’

The crone put down her weaving, sighed a little, thought, and spoke

‘How do you know that the bees will buzz, or the wren will sing in the oak

How do you know that the night will flee, or the birds fly free on the morn

As sure as you know that the sun will rise, and the stones be here at dawn’

‘That isn’t an answer,’ said the maid, ‘I want more certainty

How will I know that he speaks the truth when he lies down with me

How will I know by the look in his eye, or the touch of his hand on my breast

Whether he be the man for me, and king above all the rest’

‘You won’t,’ said the crone, ‘you’ll never know, ‘tis up to fate and chance

‘Tis biology, mystery, fantasy, a curse, and a merry dance

Just drink of the wild heat of him, while fire still burns in the sky

For men will come and go, my dear, all suns will fade and die’

The maiden sighed a little, and the crone a little too

‘It seems like only yesterday that I was a maid like you

With oak and roses in my hair, and eyes all full of flame’

‘Best get some in,’ the maid said

‘Ay,’ the crone said, ‘that’s the game’

At Avebury, on Solstice eve, a crone and a maiden sat

The maid wore a little wisdom, and the crone wore the maiden’s hat

And time passed by in a wheel of stars, till dark gave way to the dawn

And the sun rose pink upon the hill, and the king rode in on the morn

*

© Gail Foster 17th June 2017

Sad Solstice Sonnet

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*

This time last year, at Solstice, love, you came

To lie with me, as ancient lore decrees

We drew the sun to earth, and kindled flame

Between us blessed the flowers and the trees

And I wore poppies in my hair, and you

A crown of acorns proud upon your head

How swiftly round the ring the magic flew

When you and I made Avebury our bed

But that was then, and this is now, today

I come without my power and alone

No sign remains of you, or where we lay

No shadow on the grass or on the stone

Another summer, and another ring

I am no longer Goddess to your King

*

© Gail Foster 16th June 2017

Glad Eye

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for Steve Doolan

*

A man saw a maid, dancing high on a hill

She was wild as the waves of the sea

I’m thinking, he thought, that she’s looking my way

And she sure has a glad eye for me

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

No, sir, she said, ‘tis a trick of the light

You’re deceived, for I’m looking elsewhere

And ‘tis only by chance that my mischievous glance

Has been caught by your curious stare

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

 …

How she danced, how she danced, on the top of the hill

How she swirled like a cloud in the blue

Appearing to flirt with a flick of her skirt

And the bat of an eyelash or two

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

 …

She was here, she was gone, she was there, she was gone

As the moon on the wings of the fay

For a moment, the light, then the fall of the night

Then the smile, then the looking away

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

Now your man was a no nonsense sensible cove

And time waits for no man, nor he

It was tea-time, and late, so he asked the girl straight

What’s with the glad eye for me?

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?


She stopped for a moment, up high on the hill

And she blushed to the prettiest pink

Why, no sir, she lied, there’s just stuff in my eye

And your man is mistaken in drink

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?


He thought for a minute, there wasn’t much in it

And tea had a finer appeal

So he bid her good day, in a chivalrous way

Doffed his hat, and then turned on his heel

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?


Come back!  she said, ‘Twas all bullshit!  she said

Though my fancy is fickle, ‘tis true

You may take me, or leave me, but better believe me

I so have a glad eye for you

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

 …

He thought to himself, she’s a right silly lass

But she sure has a glad eye for me

So he beckoned her down from the top of the hill

And took her back home for some tea

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no

For truly it’s really quite tricky to tell

Whether your man has a glad eye as well

 *

© Gail Foster 5th October 2016

The Widow At The Well

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A rhyme about love and bereavement and loneliness, inspired by the loss of my computer for nearly a whole day, and dedicated to Chris Greenwood, who kindly mended it for me

*

She finds herself without him, at the dawn

A crumpled crazy angel weeping light

The cord that bound them severed with a bite

A bloodied mewling kitten newly born

He was the sun, that stimulated morn

The moon, that soothed the melancholy night

He was her inspiration, the delight

Of glittered stars upon the heavens drawn

She finds herself without him, at the well

A widow weeping willowfalls of tears

Of grief as heavy as a drowning stone

The silence breaks; soft rings a sudden bell

And on the solemn deeps a face appears

That whispers ‘All things come and go alone’

*

© Gail Foster 2016

Desist; a ghazal

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*

Shatter glass, spit out your bay, desist

Lustful dogs who bark and bay, desist

Cold as silver shadows list on stone

Sun’s last ray and heat of day desist

Oracles insist, and dead men know

Luck and fickle lovers may desist

Words upon the wind; I told you this

Take your magic, walk away, desist

Time to reap the harvest you have sown

Silence, let your mournful lay desist

Scry no more, lest death thy mirror kiss

Havoc, all the angels say, desist

Madness, this, to love by will alone

Yield the ghost, Felicia; pray desist!

*

© Gail Foster 2016