John Snowdon

The Uneasy Rest


Her house laid lonely on a sullen slope,
Always out of reach but never of hope
With only a candle flame to guide my way
In a driftless light we made shadow’s play.
And where that I found I could not forsake
On a dusty trail where the pathway snakes
Through the solemn trees and the fields beyond,
Past the narrow brook and the shallow pond
Then to the base of her father’s house
With no creature stirring not even a mouse
To toss small stones at her window still,
Until she let me in by her own free will.
By her own free will.


She smiles,
Which cuts the dim of this living room.
With wiles,
As each embrace furthers vesper’s bloom.
But words,
Both unspoken and those left unsaid.
Now occupy,
This empty space between us in her bed.


The waning night held a lover’s moon
But the heat was cold inside her room
As in this place two worlds collided
She was torn in two and thus divided,
On which to further forge ahead
Or heed the words her mother said.
As I traced her features with fingertips
And gently kissed her bottom lip.
That had mended uncertainties in the past
But that time had come and now had passed
And kept me from her pillow sheet
As she motioned for me to have a seat.
By her own free will, her own free will


She read,
Tennyson from a book her mother gave
That speaks
In ways of wonder except to save
For sorrow
That lightly lingers with ever verse
And borrows
Love when love is at its worse


Still treasures are found with each embrace
As I brush the hair from off her face
Yet with her speaking softly sound
With deep distress and lightly bound

Yet still she reads from forgotten calls
Of ‘craggy ledges’ and ‘softer falls’
That stirs in me this deep divide
In the open spaces where you cannot hide
Though gently cradled in her quilt
With dotted stains where the wine was spilt
She completes each passage to the bitter end
“Shall lead you home my love, my only friend?”
From the closing pages of her own free will,


She said,
“Why do you do the things you do?”
I’ve prayed
You’d take the time to see this through.
Or rather
Let me help you come to understand
The matter...”
But she’d prefer to let things stand.


She said to me as I to you,
As this desperate hour came into view
That we were better now when far apart
And that old habits could break our hearts.

I saw at once that things had changed
That longing withers when passions are tamed
For I’d made my mistake through honesty,
How I’d released love to preserve its memory.
But she is bold and wild and unafraid
She never once asked me to behave,
Yet beyond the pages she called hallowed grounds
What her eyes couldn’t find her fingers found.
By her own free will, her own free will.


Now weary,
From all that’s been done and seen.
And teary,
For what she says, she means.
“I envy,
Anyone you’ll ever let inside.”
Trust me,”
She said, “There’s no greater compliment to find.”


By this speckled presence labored, her room reformed
Which was distinctly divided from the norm
Blurred and mired and hard to see…
And all in a way so strange to me
Another reminder why I’d always stayed alone
An instinct guarded by a habit prone
To warn of fortune found seldom sustains
Leaving only ruins and discarded remains.
Yet doubt still lingers, listless, listening
That beyond these words stems another meaning
That shall show itself beyond time’s test
To awake once more from this uneasy rest
All by her own free will, her own free will.


She holds,
This morning after at the height of night
She’s bold,
To be alone with me and in spite
Of confessions
Sincerely brokered from charms before
After me,
After me…After me, the storm.
                    ‘tempestus post meum’

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