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Grahame Jun 2014
’Twas in the nineteen-twenties, when young people were bright and gay,
A flapper left Southampton, on a cruiser bound for Bombay.
Her fiancé was a subaltern, in India, in the cavalry,
And she had taken passage there, intending, him to marry.

She shared a cabin with a girl, ’cause money was quite tight,
And though they had met as strangers, they were getting on all right.
The flapper had met some nice people, and things were going fine,
Until they reached the equator, and had to ‘cross the line’.

People who before, had never the equator crossed,
Paraded around in fancy dress, and some into the pool were tossed.
The crew were dressed as pirates, and one as King Neptune,
And some of the passengers ‘walked the plank’, it was all done in fun.

During the proceedings, cocktails and champagne were drunk,
And the pirates, lots of passengers, into the pool did dunk.
The flapper’s chosen costume was that of a mermaid,
And with her legs placed in the tail, she hopped in the parade.

Because of her restricting costume, she hadn’t been tossed in the pool,
Now eventime was coming on, the air was turning cool.
She thought she’d look at the wake of the ship, so she hopped to the after-rail,
And stood there drinking a Planter’s Punch, whilst balancing on her tail.

Standing there, under the stars, she gazed down at the sea,
And saw something jump out of the water and wondered what it could be.
Then, leaning over further, to try to make it out,
She lost her balance and fell overboard, no time to even shout.

She crashed to the water on her front, and couldn’t clearly think.
She was winded and rather drunk, because of all the drink.
She struggled hard to keep afloat, her arms were all a-flail,
And for a time she was helped by air trapped in the tail.

Back on board the ship, her cabin-mate was drunk,
And didn’t think that she’d be able to get back to her bunk.
She went to a saloon, and stretched out on a sofa,
Then closed her eyes and went to sleep, the drunken little loafer.

In the morning she awoke and staggered to her berth,
With a frightful headache, no longer full of mirth.
She took some Alka Seltzer, in a glass of water,
Then slept again, not missing the flapper, although she should have ought to.

In the sea the flapper was floundering and thought that drowned she’d be.
The ship showed no sign of turning back, and went on its way steadily.
Her tail was slowly losing air and filling up with sea,
Her last thoughts, as she started to sink, were, “Why is this happening to me?”

Her past life flashed before her eyes, it didn’t take too long.
She’d really led a quiet life, and had done nothing wrong.
“That, I’ll rectify,” she thought, “if ever I get back.”
Then the air bubbled out of her lungs, and everything went black.

“Am I in heaven?” were her first thoughts, assuming she was dead.
When she heard a quiet voice, which unto her, it said
“I thought you were a mermaid, now I think you’re a mortal,
If I’d known, I never would have brought you through my portal.”

The flapper struggled to sit up straight, ’cause her legs were still in the tail.
She opened her eyes, tried to see in the gloom, and then she started to wail.
“Please tell me just where I am, whatever is this place?”
Then she tried hard not to scream, when in front of her eyes loomed a face.

In the dark it seemed to glow with a phosphorescent light,
And this was the reason it had given her such an awful fright.
Then, as she scrutinised it, she thought it did look kind,
So asked, “Why did you think me a mermaid? Are you out of your mind?”

The face moved back and regarded her, and then to her it said,
“Aren’t you at all curious to find you are not dead?
Luckily for you I was on the surface, looking at your ship,
When I saw you standing staring down, and then I saw you slip.”

“I swam back under the water, so I would not be seen,
And heard you splashing in the water, and wondered what it did mean.
Then, looking at you from beneath, as you your arms did flail,
I saw to my surprise, that instead of legs, you’d a tail!”

“I could not work out why a mermaid was on that boat,
Nor why you seemed to not be able to swim or even float.
Then you started sinking and your gills I couldn’t see,
And you obviously weren’t breathing, so you needed help from me.”

“Then I thought of the quickest way that your life I could save.
I towed you to the sea-bed, and brought you to my cave.
There is lots of air in here and I saw to my relief,
When I laid you on my bed, you started then to breathe.”

The flapper was quite shocked at this and couldn’t believe her ears.
She thought she was trapped with a lunatic and her mind was filled with fears.
So sitting up, she undid the belt that held her tail on tight,
Then wiggled a bit and pulled it off so her legs were now in sight.

“There are no such things as mermaids!” the flapper then did shout.
“Why are you keeping me captive? Oh won’t you let me out?”
“You really are then human,” the mermaid, startled, said,
“And I brought you here inside my home! I really feel afraid.”

“I don’t believe in mermaids,” the flapper again did wail.
“So far I’ve only seen your face, I haven’t seen a tail.”
The mermaid said, with trembling voice, “If that is what you wish.”
She then lay back upon the bed, and gave her tail a swish.

“No, no, it’s just your fancy dress, like mine for the parade,”
The flapper said, and like the mermaid, she was sore afraid.
They both sat up and looked at each other,  tears running down their faces,
And each, feeling sorry for the other, each, the other embraces.

As they hugged together, they started to calm down,
And the flapper said to the mermaid, “I think that you have shown
Great compassion in saving me and bringing me safely here.”
And though overcome by emotion, she managed to sound sincere.

The mermaid said, “You’re trembling, may I be so bold
As to ask if you’re still frightened?” The flapper said, “I’m cold.
I’m shivering to warm myself, my clothes are chilly and wet.”
The mermaid told her, “I know what, some dry clothes I will get.”

Sliding down from off the bed, into a pool she slipped,
And swam to the far side of the cave, and there a case she gripped.
Rolling over onto her back, she balanced it on her chest,
Then swam back to the flapper, who hoped it hadn’t squashed her breast.

The flapper helped to lift the heavy case onto the bed.
“I hope you haven’t hurt yourself bringing it here,” she said.
“Oh no,” replied the mermaid, “I’m stronger than I look,”
Then she opened it, and from the inside, several garments took.

The flapper then looked thoughtful and said, with a little frown,
“I hope this case hasn’t come from someone who did drown.”
“Oh no!” said the mermaid, as she that thought abhored,
“I often find stuff from ships that has fallen overboard.”

The flapper quickly then took off all her sodden clothes,
And picked up a lace hankie, and on it blew her nose.
She dried herself upon a towel, and sorting out clothes to wear,
Picked out some silken knickers and a strapless brassiere.

Then the flapper noticed that the mermaid was quite bare.
She obviously wouldn’t wear knickers, so she held out the brassiere.
“What is that?” the mermaid asked, “Do you wear it on your head?”
“Turn around, lift up your arms and I’ll show you,” the flapper said.

The mermaid swivelled round and raised her arms up high,
While the flapper knelt behind her, putting her arms round her to try
To fit her with the brassiere, and though she did her best,
She managed, inadvertently, in each hand to clasp a breast.

The flapper and the mermaid both froze there in that place.
The flapper felt a crimson flush, blush across her face.
The mermaid slowly lowered her arms, each covered a flapper’s hand,
And she murmured, “What are you doing? I just don’t understand.”

The flapper’s arms were locked in place and the mermaid she leant back.
The flapper felt her ***** flattened as the mermaid squashed her rack.
The mermaid muttered, “Don’t get dressed, I’ve a better idea instead.
Why don’t we lie down together? I’ll warm you up in bed.”

The mermaid released the flapper’s hands and slowly turned around.
Then she saw the flapper’s eyes looking down upon the ground.
The flapper spoke. “I know you meant the offer kindly, though
While I’m really flattered, in India, I’ve a beau.”

“I was on my way to meet him at Bombay, to be married.
I’d still be on my way there, if the cruise had not miscarried.
You have been so kind to me and managed to save my life,
Now will you help me on my way so I can be a wife?”

The mermaid looked unhappy, however, she concurred,
Albeit quite reluctantly, and then spoke so she’d be heard,
“I will try to help you, though yet we must delay.
There will be many sharks outside at this time of day.”

“If I take you outside now, to try to get you back,
There’s a real chance that the sharks they will attack.
Why don’t you finish drying yourself and find clothes to get dressed,
Then lie back down upon the bed and try to get some rest?”

The flapper started dressing and put on the brassiere,
And helped the mermaid put one on, who felt awkward not being bare.
When the flapper stood up, and stepped into the knickers,
The mermaid couldn’t help but stare, her eyes made up-and-down flickers.

“Please show me how you use your legs,” the mermaid did implore,
“It’s strange to see you standing up,  not lying on the floor.”
The flapper bent and stretched her knees to show how they did work.
Then turned around and squatted down and got her *** to twerk.

Then as the flapper, legs apart, upon the bed did kneel,
The mermaid, stretching out her arm, between those legs did feel.
And then very slowly, rubbed her hand forth and back,
And murmured, “It must feel very strange, because a tail you lack.”

The flapper, with a quavering voice, said, “It’s quite normal for me.
Now, though, what about you? May I your tail closely see?”
And with that, the flapper stretched out flat upon the bed,
Then on the mermaid’s tail, gently rested her head.

She put her hand upon the tail and stroked it up and down,
And feeling it crissate, gave a little frown.
It felt smooth when caressed downwards and rough the other way,
And then the mermaid arched her back and suddenly did spray.

From somewhere at the tail’s front squirted forth a spout.
That the mermaid did enjoy it, the flapper was not in doubt.
The liquid jet subsided and the mermaid gave a moan,
And a quite delightful odour suffused throughout the room.

The fluid showered the flapper, who wasn’t sure what to do.
Though when she wiped her hair, it foamed up like shampoo.
She rubbed it to a lather, and washed her body too,
And felt totally refreshed, as though she had washed in dew.

She stood, removed her underwear, because she thought she ought to
Rinse off the mermaid’s glorious shower by washing in some water.
She walked to a fissure in the cave where the water ran down in rills,
And as she rinsed her face and neck, she felt a pair of gills.

In shock she stumbled backwards and fell upon the floor,
Where her legs fused into a tail, which wasn’t there before.
She looked at it in horror and then with fear she cried,
When instantly, the mermaid lay down by her side.

The mermaid clasped her in her arms and rolling across the floor,
Pulled the flapper to the edge of the pool and pushed her in, before
Sliding in to the water herself, and pulling the flapper under,
Where, to her surprise, the flapper could breathe, it really was a wonder.

The flapper hung suspended, floating there in shock,
Then gradually realising she was all right, started to take stock.
Thinking that now, perhaps, she could swim just like a fish,
She gathered up her strength, and gave her tail a swish.

Unwittingly, she flapped her tail with all the strength she’d got,
And happening to be facing the cave door, right through it she shot.
Then coming out in daylight, she stared in disbelief
At all the spectacular marine life round about the reef.

There was coral in profusion, as far as the eye could see,
Of many shapes and colours, like a garden beautifully
Laid out on the sea-bed, with fishes swimming round,
Each of them making it their home; the sea-life did really abound.

The mermaid caught up with the flapper and took her by the hand,
Then said to her, “I’m confused, I just don’t understand
How you became a mermaid, then I saw you couldn’t breathe,
So I pushed you underwater, to try to give you ease.”

“I realised that you’d grown gills and couldn’t breathe in air,
So I thought that being in water was best, because it’s where
We mermaids live, so that is the place you had better be.”
“Thank you, you’ve saved my life again,” said the flapper gratefully.

Then, although still puzzled, they swam on, hand-in-hand,
The mermaid helping the flapper, ’til she could understand
How to use her tail well, to control where she did swim,
And to make fine adjustments, by using the tail’s fin.

Eventually the flapper grew tired, so to the cave they both swam back,
The flapper taking the lead, because she’d got the knack
Of how to control her tail, and adjust direction and speed,
Then a thought suddenly struck her, in air, her lungs she would need.

They reached the cave and while in the pool, the flapper to the mermaid said,
“How am I going to breathe back in air? I can’t get it into my head.”
The mermaid replied, “I think you should try, we mermaids can manage ok.
Just try to do what comes naturally, that will be the best way.”

“In for a penny, in for a pound,” bravely declared the flapper.
She hauled herself out, then she choked, the mermaid, on her back did slap her.
The flapper coughed, and gave a gasp, then shouted in relief,
“I think I’m going to be all right, my lungs have started to breathe.”

They both lay there in silence, thinking of what had passed.
Then the flapper turned to the mermaid, and she said, “These last
Few hours I’ve spent with you have been just like a dream.
Now I’m tired, shall we go to bed? I think you know what I mean!”

They pulled themselves into the bed, and together they did huddle.
The mermaid put her arms round the flapper and together they did cuddle.
And this time, as the two of them laid together in rest,
It was now the mermaid who cupped the flapper’s breast.

The mermaid asked, “Remember when you stroked my tail and I gushed?”
The flapper felt embarrassed and again on her face she blushed.
The mermaid said, “It was really nice, wouldn’t you like to try?”
The flapper replied, “I’m afraid it’s too late, and here’s the reason why.”

“That would be an experience I’d really like to try.
However, it is too late now, ’cause as my tail got dry,
I felt it metamorphosise, have a feel, I beg.”
The mermaid reached down with her hand, and felt the flapper’s leg.

Nevertheless, she stroked it, and rubbed it up and down,
And accidentally touched some hair, which caused her then to frown.
“I think you’ve got a problem, you’d best hear it from me.
Stuck between your legs, I think there’s a sea anemone.”

The flapper remembered the last time that the mermaid there had felt.
She’d had on silken *******, so had seemed smooth and svelte.
Now, she’d got her legs back which were absolutely bare,
And of course, instead of feeling silk, the mermaid felt her hair.

“That’s not an anemone, in fact, it is my......frizz.
I am used to it being there, that’s just the way it is.
I try to keep it neatly trimmed, so there is not a lot,
Besides, I think it’s there to protect the entrance of my grot.”

“When you say you’ve got a grot, I assume you mean a cave.
Is it as big as this one, holding all the treasures you have?”
The flapper answered the mermaid, “Oh no, it’s very small,
And held safe within it is my most precious possession of all.”

“I have carefully guarded it so that it won’t get lost.
I expect my husband to have it soon, a few weeks at the most.
And so, my dearest mermaid, until I am a bride,
Nobody will ever know just what I keep inside.”

The mermaid gently smoothed the ‘frizz’, and said, “I understand.
Now, don’t you think it’s time we got you back to land?”
I would like to help you, and I think I know a way
Of quickly getting you safely all the way to Bombay.”

“Thank you,” responded the flapper, “however, if we may,
I’d like to go to another port, one before Bombay.
Then, if at all possible, I can rejoin my cruise ship there,
And may I take some of your clothes, so I’m not on
Grahame Jun 2014
“My Lady! My Lady! Arise from your bower,
    I’d show you something, come down from your tower!”
The maid into the Lady’s chamber goes,
    she is intent on telling her news.

“My handmaid, my handmaid, what’s all the row?
    Don’t you know I’ve been asleep until now?
I am in my bed, in nightclothes I’m dressed,
    so please impart to me, that which you feel pressed.”

“My Lady! My Lady! Please get out of bed!
    it needs to be shown you, it can’t just be said.
In your private garden is something to see,
    you wouldn’t believe it if you heard it from me.”

The Lady arises, and in her clothes dight,
    descends from the tower in the still of the night.
“Hurry, please hurry,” the handmaiden said,
    “lest what I would show you has already fled.”

They reach the tower’s base, both breathing hard,
    go out of the tower, and into the yard
That they walk across, right up to the gate,
    which the Lady unlocks, though the hour is late.

This garden is private, the demesne of the Lady,
    hedged and bowered, everywhere shady.
With windy gravel paths, carefully laid,
    and only attended by the Lady and maid.

This is her refuge, her own privy lair,
    where she’d repair, far from the care
Of running the castle, looking after the keep,
    which often oppressed her, until she could weep.

Her husband, the Lord, is oft-times away,
    in ‘The Field of Mars’, in the thick of the fray,
Leaving the Lady in the castle alone,
    who, for a pastime’s made the garden her own.

She lovingly tends the plants and the trees,
    which were chosen to tempt birds, butterflies and bees.
And, by selecting ones with strong scent,
    she could know, by smelling, at night where she went.

She now knows this garden like the back of her hand,
    and loves to walk through it, or simply to stand
Admiring the vistas, or taking the air,
    now, lead by the maid, she follows to where
A unicorn lies, wounded with a spear,
    stretched out in an arbour, showing no fear.

The Lady and maid, now hand-in-hand
    slowly approach, and before it do stand.
“My Lady, my Lady, now do you see why
    to observe it yourself I have brought you nigh?
If I’d said, in your garden was a unicorn,
    I fear you would have treated my words with scorn.”

“My handmaid, my handmaid, yes, you’ve done right,
    to bring me here, to show me this sight.
And now, we must help with this poor creature’s plight.
    We’ll pull out the spear, I hope that’ll be right.”

“Return to the castle and fetch water hot,
    and cloths to clean, and what simples we’ve got,
And needle and thread to mend this wound.
    Hurry! Go now! Don’t just stound!”

Back to the castle the maid does hurry,
    while, for the Lady, she does worry.
They’ve neither seen such a creature before,
    and know not if a grudge it bore.

Slowly the Lady approaches the beast,
    cinching her kirtle around her waist.
By its side on the ground she kneels,
    and slowly reaching out, she feels
The unicorn’s flank, to try to decide
    how far the spear has pierced its side,
While the unicorn, with lugubrious eyes,
    gazes at her face as still it lies.

Soon the maid returns with the gear,
    which she lays on the ground, conveniently near
To where the Lady is stroking the creature,
    staring in wonder at each feature.

Two brown eyes, limpid and large,
    a spiralling horn crowns its visage,
Muzzle and feet, all black as jet,
    hide as white as milk, unset.

Ears pricked up, alert and keen,
    tail and mane both long and sheyne.
They know not how long there it has lain,
    with open mouth, panting in pain.

The maid hands the Lady a dampened cloth,
    which she uses to mop up the blood, then doth
Grasp the shaft of the piercing spear,
    and with one pull, draws it clear.

The unicorn gives just one start,
    then lies there, still, although alert.
From the wound comes forth a little blood,
    which the Lady staunches as best she could.

The Lady does the wound clean and dress,
    and stitches the edges, neat as a seamstress.
She wipes the unicorn’s fevered brow,
    then she and the maid wonder what to do now.

The sun’s rays over the garden wall creep,
    So the arbour, still in shadow deep
Slowly brightens up, and then
    the beams light up the unicorn, when
A flash of light blinds their eyes,
    and when they can see, to their surprise,
At the place where lay the unicorn
    there’s now a girl lying, looking forlorn.

Amazed, the Lady and handmaid stare
    at the girl, with a stitched wound, lying there.
Seeing her naked, exposed to their sight,
    they cover her form with a length of samite.

The sun does slowly the arbour warm,
    and they think she’ll now be safe from harm,
Then gradually, she opens her eyes,
    looks at them, and then she cries.

Her whole body with her sorrow shakes,
    the arbour echoes with the sobs she makes,
She appears so fragile and delicate,
    and seems to be inconsolate.

The Lady, sitting by the girl’s side,
    is concerned that the wound might open wide.
So violent is the girl’s paroxysm,
    that she fears it might cause the suture to schism.

So taking the young girl in her arms,
    she cuddles her closely, to soothe her alarms,
And with gentle rocking to and fro,
    the girl, exhausted, to sleep does go.

Later, the Lady feels the girl’s hot,
    and realises she a fever has got.
From the simples she makes a febrifuge,
    which she administers in the arbour refuge.

The sun is almost overhead,
    so fleetingly the time has sped.
The arbour now is cool with shade,
    while the Lady continues administering aid.

The samite cloth is soaking wet,
    so some of the Lady’s clothes does the maid get.
Also fresh water, because she does think
    the girl might like a cooling drink.

She sees the girl is sitting up,
    so offers her water in a cup,
And then offers her a silken gown,
    though wonders if she can dress on her own.

The Lady asks, “Can you put this dress on?”
    Weakly, the girls says, “I’ll try anon.”
Although, when she tries, she cannot stand,
    so the maid offers to give her a hand.

With the help of the Lady and the maid,
    in the dress, the girl is arrayed.
And then she says, still seeming dismayed,
    “Thank you for your help, I’ve been so afraid.
And if you’ll continue sitting near,
    I’ll discover to you just why I am here.”

“My stepmother did me cruelly treat,
    though when with my father, she seemed so sweet,
And because his love, he between us divided,
    to separate us, she then decided”

“She semblanced gaity by day,
    while always looking for a way
To make me seem as a fool, or worse,
    and to appear in all things as perverse.”

“At night she magic studiéd,
    while my father, drugged, lay asleep in bed.
I tried to tell him of her deceit,
    though he always maintained she would not cheat.”

“Eventually, she found a way
    of letting me stay a fille by day
While becoming a unicorn filly at night.
    Against her magic I could not fight.”

“I knew it would break my father’s heart
    to discover his wife had used black art,
And so I thought it a kinder way
    to pretend to go on holiday.”

“I forged a letter from a friend
    inviting me to go and spend
A few weeks visiting her home,
    and took the chance to distantly roam.
And that is why I happened to come
    into these woods, near your home.”

“Because I’m a unicorn at night,
    I live in the woods, like an eremite.
I try to keep to my cave by day.
    I have found this is the best way.”

“As a lady in the wood,
    it’s difficult to find any food.
My clothes are ragged and all torn,
    I’m better off as a unicorn.”

“As a unicorn, I’m able to eat.
    There’s grass all around, and shoots so sweet.
There are ponds and streams where I can drink,
    and this is my best chance I think.”

“I left my cave early last night,
    however, there was still some light.
The sun had only just then set,
    and I, some grass, was eager to eat.”

“It was then I did realise
    I wasn’t alone. To my surprise
A band of hunters, going home,
    by chance through your woods did come.”

“They, straightway, their horns did sound,
    and then let slip their pack of hounds.
I desperately fled away,
    and from my cave was forced to stray.”

“I managed, in front of the pack, to keep,
    meanwhile, my strength, did slowly seep.
On reaching a river that did rapidly flow,
    I desperately leapt it, and over did go.”

“Just as I landed on the further bank,
    I felt a sharp pain in my flank.
A huntsman had chanced a spear to throw;
    I thought I’d been given a mortal blow.
Because the hounds couldn’t the river cross,
    they had to reckon me as a loss.”

“I carried on, full of fear,
    until, to the castle wall I came near.
Then seeing a garden gate open wide,
    I managed, painfully, to struggle inside.”

“I staggered into this arbour deep,
    hoping it would me safely keep.
Then, passing close by, walked your maid,
    and I made a noise though I was afraid.”

“I didn’t want to die alone,
    so I made a sound before she was gone.
I only wanted someone to be there,
    I didn’t expect to receive any care.”

“Your maid came in, quite unafraid,
    and saw me, as on the ground I laid.
And from her eye fell down a tear,
    so then I knew I’d naught to fear.”

“I could now die in company,
    except your handmaid said to me,
‘You stay there, some help I’ll get,
    I will not let you die just yet.’”

“So she brought you, and you helped me,
    and for that I’ll always grateful be.
And now, if you’ll kindly open that door,
    I’ll return to my cave and you’ll see me no more.”

The Lady and her maid said, “No!”
    adding, “from here we shall not let you go.
You have still got a crippling wound
    and for it to mend it needs to be bound.”

“My maid can fetch some serving men.
    They’ll carry you to my chamber, and then
We can give to you the care you need.
    With this plan I hope you’ll concede.”

The girl said, “Nay, this I must gainsay,
    I really must now go away.
How do you think you’ll cope with the sight
    of a unicorn in your bedroom at night?”

The Lady and handmaid thought about this.
    Then the Lady said, “I wis!
My old nursemaid lives near the wood.
    We’ll get you to her, I know we could.”

“She has a cottage and a little land,
    a stable and outbuildings round it stand.
For love of me she’ll look after you,
    I think that is the best thing to do.”

“My handmaid, fetch some serving men,
    and ask them to bring my litter, and then
They can carry the girl to my old nursemaid.
    You’ll be safe there, look not afraid.”

The handmaid goes to find some men,
    while the girl and Lady stay snug in their den.
The girl tells the Lady about her life,
    and the struggle to cope with the constant strife
Which arose from the stepmother treating her ill,
    while her father seemed totally bent to her will.

The maid returns with the men and the litter
    and though the girl said she does feel fitter,
They place her on it, and she’s then transported
    carefully to the nurse’s home. All is sorted.

To alert the nurse, the maid goes on ahead,
    and the nurse listens carefully to what is said.
She quickly makes a spare room ready
    to look after the girl, who is so needy.

The girl is gently placed on a cot,
    while the nursemaid, making some water hot,
Gives the girl a sleeping potion,
    and covers the sutured wound with a lotion.

She binds the wound with cloth that’s clean,
    then asks the Lady what it does mean.
The Lady asks her nurse, so dear,
    to keep it secret, which the nurse does swear.

The nurse then listens, quite bemused,
    how the wounded girl’s been so badly used.
And the outcome, really tragic,
    of the stepmother’s evil use of magic.

The nurse says that of course the girl may stay,
    and the garden’s enclosed, so she will not stray
At night, when become a unicorn,
    so she should be quite safe there alone.
And, furthermore, while the girl is there,
    she’ll try to find a way to save her.

The Lady and maid walk back to the tower,
    and start climbing the stairs to the Lady’s bower.
The Lady asks the maid about the gate,
    if she knows why it had been open so late.

The handmaid said, “I must confess,
    I knew the gate was open, yes.
Oh please try not to be angry with me,
    I had unlocked it with my key.”

“Why were you out, my maid, at night?
    Why couldn’t your business wait until light?”

“My Lady, I have made a match,
    a soldier who’s in your night-watch.
His duty’s at night, he sleeps by day,
    so I have managed to find a way
To see him sometimes, if I can,
    Together, we have made a plan.”

“Although he’s always on duty late,
    he’s occasionally stationed by the gate
Of this garden, near the bower,
    and then he lets me know the hour.”

“When he’s there, I use my key,
    to enter the garden secretly.
I go through it, to the gate,
    then open it, for some time with my mate.”

“So I suppose, when late last night,
    I had opened the gate for a sight
Of my leman, I must have forgotten to
    close it tight when to him I did go.”

“Then, later on, when going home
    through the garden, I heard a moan.
And tryi
Grahame Jun 2014
On the beach I sat on a rock, staring out to sea.
The day was sunny and warm, though blowing a gentle breeze.
There were only a few people there on the beach.
They were engrossed with having fun, and ignored me.
Further along the beach, in a striped top, was a girl.
She walked to the edge of the sea, and watched the incoming tide.

I idly watched the girl who was watching the incoming tide.
Her long hair, unbound, was teased by the gentle breeze.
She stood there motionless, just an ordinary girl,
Gazing at the relentless waves rolling in from the sea.
Although there were other people scattered on the beach,
None of them had any attraction in any way for me.

I was spending time alone, there on that beach,
Watching the slow encroachment of the incoming tide.
As the sun moved overhead, stronger became the breeze,
Making breaking white tops on the waves on the sea.
Reaching into her pocket, a camera was produced by the girl,
Who slowly started filming the scene, turning and facing me.

I watched the girl, standing there, with her back to the sea.
Was she secretly filming me while pretending to film the beach?
She was bare-foot, and as I watched, her feet were wettened by the tide.
The wind had moved round and from her to me now blew the breeze.
I thought I could detect a subtle scent wafting from the girl.
“Attar of Roses”, my favourite fragrance, drifted across to me.

Then, as I sat and watched, further turned the girl.
Having turned fully around, she stood again with her back to the beach.
Then, she seemed to realise, she was surrounded by sea,
And gradually she became aware of the incoming tide.
Once again, she slowly turned, hair blown in her face by the breeze,
And her face, framed by her hair, was now facing to me.

Then, camera swinging from a hand, she walked up the beach.
The panorama that I saw, had now lost some appeal for me.
The sun was slowly sinking down, and colder blew the breeze.
The waves were getting stronger, on the incoming tide.
I decided it was time that I ended my sojourn by the sea,
And I could still smell “Attar of Roses”, a memento of the ephemeral girl.

*Grahame Upham
9th May 2014
This is my effort at composing a sestet. Each verse has six lines, and the last word of each of the six lines in one verse  is the same for all verses, though not necessarily in the same order.
Grahame Jun 2014
The Black Faerie beats her sable wings,
And rises into the dark and midnight sky.
Tonight she needs a ******’s soul to live,
Or else tonight a ****** she must die.

Tonight the dark moon rises in the sky,
’Twill be the time the black arts they hold sway,
And so tonight a ******’s fate is sealed,
If the Black Faerie has her way.

She rises high, unseen by mortal eye,
And casts around, a ******’s scent to find.
She starts, and checks, then starts and checks again,
She’s found a ******’s scent borne on the wind.

Carefully she follows the ætherial trail,
Flying against the wind to trace its source.
She hopes, tonight, successful she will be,
And is determined to stay on her course.

After flying for some time she finds
The scent is getting stronger on the wind,
She’s slowly drawing closer to her prey,
And trusts, soon, the ****** she will find.

When then she sees a hut down in the wood,
Invitingly, a window’s open wide,
The scent is overpoweringly now intense,
So, silently, through the opening she glides.

She spies a truckle bed next to the wall,
A young lady soundly sleeps within.
The Black Faerie hovers o’er the maid,
And senses the dormant ****** power within.

The lady on her back asleep does lie,
Clad only in a white nightgown.
The bedclothes, in night’s warmth pushed aside,
On her breast, the faerie settles down.

She waits a moment listening; all is calm.
And then, before the fay can make a move,
A bright white light enters in the room.
A sparkling fairy’s fluttering above.

“What mischief are you up to now?” she asks.
The Black Faerie’s rooted to the spot.
She’s never seen this beauteous creature before,
And knows not what powers she might have got.

“And who are you?” the black fay asks in turn,
“You cannot be a denizen of the night,
You are much too beautiful for that,
You’re so gracile, and you’re much too bright!”

“Indeed, I am a fairy of the day,
I help the flowers to bud, bloom and blow.
I’d curled up to sleep, inside a rose,
When dark and silent past me you did go.”

“And you, in turn, so vagiley you flew,
Darting through the bosky wood with ease.
My heart stood still, my breath caught in my throat,
I’d never seen such a sight to please.”

“The other fairies of the day I’ve known,
Are bright and gay, and flit from flower to flower.
They idle, and they gossip, and they’re dull,
And I cannot stand them more ower.”

“So when I saw you flying past tonight,
Looking mean and moody dressed in black,
I just knew that I must follow after,
And hoped that you might lead me to the craic.”

The Black Faerie recovers from her fright,
The night’s the time her powers are at their best.
She decides to try to play it cool,
So sits herself down on the ******’s breast.

“Tonight’s the anniversary of my birth,
Which was a year ago at the dark moon.”
The Black Faerie then continued thus,
“And to prevent my death I must act soon.”

“The reason why I am a Faerie Black,
Which I believe is rare in faerykind,
Is because the dark moon was at zenith,
Which caused a problem with my mother’s mind.”

“This caused me, when born, to be jet black,
Which wasn’t any fault of my own.
The day fairies cast us out from them,
And thus, we had to live all alone.”

“Although I tried my best to keep her whole,
Slowly, my dear mother pined away.
And then she told me, something she must tell,
As wasting on her deathbed she lay.”

“If a ******’s life I did live,
Then indeed, a ****** must die.
And before the dark moon’s anniversary,
To get this matter sorted, I should try.”

Because tonight’s the night of the dark moon,
I have traced this ****** to her bed,
Now what my mother told me I must do
I will, and soon this ****** shall be dead.”

“Oh no! Please!” the sparkling fairy said,
“Surely there must be another way!
Instead of sacrificing this lady,
Take my life, I am a ****** fay.”

“Would you freely give your life for hers?”
The Black Fay asked, jumping to her feet.
“To save this lady’s life I surely will,”
The sparkling fairy said, “’Tis only meet.”

“Since her parents died, she’s all alone,
Living in this wild forest drear.
Despite that, she still has many friends,
A lot of wild animals come here.”

“To the sick and injured she gives succour,
And tends the crops and plants round here as well.
In fact, she does more than many fairies,
And has helped the flower’s numbers swell.”

The sparkling fay continued, “Oh Black Faerie,
Please don’t do this vile and evil deed.
As I’ve asked, please take my life instead,
Then, in time, I’m sure you’ll get your meed.”

The sparkling fairy then fell down sobbing,
In between the sleeping lady’s breast,
While the Black Faerie stood there sternly,
Considering the sparkling fay’s request.

The sparkling fairy’s sobbing soon grew louder,
And with her hands and feet she beat the maid.
She’d forgotten whereabouts they were,
She was at once both sad and afraid.

The Black Faerie’s voice also grew louder,
The sparkling fay to cow, and make shut up,
When suddenly, to both of their surprises,
The ****** maid awoke, and then sat up.

Both the fairies froze, and tumbled downwards,
And came to rest in the lady’s lap.
She grasped the Black Faerie very firmly,
Her hand, round the Black Fay’s arms, did wrap.

Sitting straight, the lady then spake thus,
“For a Faerie Black, you’re not too bright.
Although you heard what your mother said,
I don’t believe you understood her right.”

The lady’s other hand was much more gentle,
She held the sparkling fairy to her breast,
And softly said, “Don’t worry, it’s now over,
Try to calm yourself, and have a rest.”

“I have been awake for some time now,
Woken by your voices in my ear.
However I kept my eyes tightly closed,
So your conversation I should hear.”

To the sparkling fairy then she spoke,
“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
I heard you offer yourself in my place,
I appreciate you trying to take my part.”

“As for you, you wretched little faerie,
I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry
When I heard the evil you intended,
And knew, you’d got wrong, the reason why.”

“I am a pagan, as it happens,
And know about the phases of the moon.
And so, though you were born in darkness,
You actually were also born at noon.”

“This probably is what confused your mother,
The reason that it was dark for your birth,
The moon caused a total eclipse of the sun,
And thus darkness descended over the earth.”

The lady put the Black Fay on her lap,
A tear of sympathy fell from her eye,
“And so, poor thing, you lost your friends and mother,
And now, you know the real reason why.”

“Your mother didn’t know what had happened,
At noon, expecting to give birth to you,
Which is why she slowly lost her reason,
And the day fairies did you both eschew.”

The Black Faerie then started sobbing,
And curled up in a ball upon the bed.
“I always felt that I was unfairly treated,
And knowing that, I wish that I was dead!”

At that, the sparkling fairy gave a wriggle,
And asked the maid if she would put her down.
Then, slowly, she went to the Black Faerie,
And gave a gentle tug on her black gown.

The Black Faerie raised a tear-stained face,
And looked the sparkling fairy in the eye,
Who lifted the crying Faerie to her feet,
And chokingly said, “Please try not to cry.”

“You shouldn’t blame yourself,” she told the Faerie,
“You have had to put up with a lot.
Though now you know that you are normal,
I hope, perhaps, you’ll stop your murderous plot.”

The sparkling fay then smiled at the Black Faerie,
Who, through her tears, smiled also,
They then both tightly hugged each other,
And looked like they’d ne’er let each other go.

The Black Faerie turned to face the ******,
And said, “I am quite prepared to die.
I really didn’t want to have to **** you,
I don’t know why my mother said to try.”

The lady said, “You misunderstood her,
She didn’t want you to live all alone.
She wanted you to find a special person,
To be with you, after she had gone.”

“She tried to say, if you lived as a ******,
Then, as a ******, you would die.
Though she left out the personal pronoun,
So on a futile mission you did fly.”

“I don’t know if you really could have killed me,
Though to try, you’d go out of your way.
And I suspect your mother’s time-limit,
Was to make you find a friend without delay.”

“I don’t think that tonight you will die,
On the anniversary of your dark moon.
And now, perhaps, you’ve found a special friend,
So your quest here has granted you a boon.”

Seeing them looking completely right together,
The lady, down upon them both, did smile.
She hoped that they might soon get together,
And to help them, she might have to use some guile.

“You really both do make a lovely couple,
You complement each other in all ways,
Though I suspect, you courageous sparkling fairy,
You won’t be able to both live with your fays.”

“Round my hut I’ve planted many flowers,
Perhaps you two, near them, your home could make.
I would love for you to live here near me,
Won’t you please think on it, for my sake?”

“And now, I am afraid I’m getting tired,
We’ve been awake for most of the night,
And I would like to try and get some sleep,
Before the sun comes up and it gets light.”

“Next to my bed I’ll lay a pillow,
Which you both may use as a bed.
And now I’ll lie down and close my eyes,
I think, by me, enough has been said”

The lady placed a pillow on the floor,
And slowly re-laid down in her bed,
While the fairies, holding hands, flew aloft,
And settled on the pillow, head by head.

She heard them quietly talking to each other,
Though not the actual words that they said,
Then she drifted off to sleep, and dreamed of fairies,
Lying stilly and quiescent in her bed.

She awoke late the next morning,
And wondered what the misplaced pillow meant.
She vaguely remembered something about fairies,
Though put it down to what she had dreamt.

Then stretching and yawning she arose,
Drew back her window curtains and looked out,
When, what she then saw in the garden,
Quite caused her, her senses to doubt.

Every single flower in her garden,
Seemed to have bloomed overnight,
With larger than normal efflorescences,
And overhead, two fairies in full flight.

To her window sill they flew together,
And stood together, standing side by side.
Then told the lady they would like to live here,
While she stared at them with eyes open wide.

It hadn’t been a dream after all,
What happened in the night had been real.
After many years on her own,
She now had two friends who would be leal.

And so, together they all settled down,
The fairies living with her in her home.
She kept a careful eye upon them both
Though sometimes the fays would go and roam

They helped the wild creatures in the wood,
And kept the garden looking nice and neat.
They’d be out by day and by night,
And almost worked themselves off their feet.

Then one day they said to the maid,
That both of them were ever so sorry,
They had to go away for some time,
Though would be coming back, so do not worry.

Every day the lady looked for them,
And kept hoping that they were both all right.
Somehow, she made it through the day,
Then cried herself to sleep every night.

She very nearly gave up hope,
What kept her going was they’d said they’d be back.
She tried her best to keep things going right,
Though to her, things were looking black.

Late one night, she roused from her sleep.
The window ope’d, she thought it was the wind.
Then, irrupting through her casement came,
Her two fays, with two more close behind.

The Black and sparkling fairies lead the way,
Followed by two fairies, very small.
The lady sat, and looked at them in wonder,
From her truckle bed set by the wall.

The Black Faerie settled on her bed,
The sparkling fairy followed close behind.
“We’re sorry to have stayed away so long,
We’ve brought our children with us, please don’t mind.”

At that, the lady looked quite astounded,
“Have you been off with fairy men to dally?”
The two fairies laughed with amusement,
“There are no male fairies, you big wally!”

“We thought, as a pagan, you’d have known
How we maintain our fairy nation.
Female with female fairies manage,
By a process of adosculation.”

The Black Faerie lifted one small fay.
“This lovely dark child is mine.
We’ve decided that we’ll call her Midnight,
To remind us of what’s passed this syne.”

The sparkling fairy lifted up the other.
“And for this blonde beauty I’m to blame.
We could not decide what to call her,
And hoped that you might choose for her a name.”

The lady just sat there in stunned silence,
Quite unable to make any sound.
Oh so happy they had come back to her,
With evidence of the love they’d found.

Once more overcome with emotion,
She let her happy tears flow,
And said, “Please let me think about it,
As soon as I’ve got a name, you’ll know.”

“I’m so very glad you’ve returned,
It was lonely being on my own,
Now you’re back here with your children,
I won’t ever have to feel alone.”

The lady dried her tears, and then smiled,
“I should never have felt so forlorn,
This is a new start for us all,
So I think your child should be named....Dawn.”

Then they all started to laugh and cry together,
Each fairy contented with her child,
And they all lived happily ever after,
In the middle of the forest wild.
*
Grahame Upham
February 2014.
Grahame Jun 2014
A beautiful angel, sitting on a cloud,
softly playing her harp,
Was suddenly frit by a noise so loud,
and hit by something sharp.

It’s Concorde, travelling faster than sound,
that is so very sharp,
The angel tumbles towards the ground,
while Concorde flies off with the harp.

She thinks, “No longer shall I sing
while on a cloud I’m sat,
That flying machine has broken my wing,
I’m falling fast, and that’s that!”

The wing though’s, not broken, and causes no pain,
so she thinks, just to feathers, is damage,
However, she tries to fly in vain,
it’s something she just cannot manage.

By spreading her wings slightly she manages to steer,
and thus, stops spinning around,
She is greatly filled with fear,
and still falling towards the ground.

And then, far below, she spies a small plane,
climbing into the sky,
The sight causes her some hope to gain,
and towards it she tries to fly.

“If I can land on the plane,” thinks she,
“that’s grand, cos my fall it will stop,
I might be able to ride it down safely,
and when it’s landed, off it can hop.”

She glides down, the plane flies higher,
and about halfway they meet ,
And though, for a moment, things seem dire,
she grabs on tight, and makes it her seat.

She sits there, astride the plane,
waiting for her panic to subside,
And realises, as plain as plain,
she’s in for a bumpy ride.

Then the plane levels out, her heart calms down,
and things are looking better,
She smooths out her lily-white gown,
and thinks, “Today’s one for a red letter!”

And then she hears a clunking noise,
a door is opened wide,
“Oh no!” she thinks, nearly losing her poise,
“There must be people inside.”

Inside the plane, the pilot had fretted,
he’d felt it pitch and yaw,
And though its balance had been upsetted,
he’d straightened it out once more.

By skydivers, chartered plane had been,
they’d all jumped out, except one,
They were experienced, she was green,
and now she was left all alone.

She’d thought that she should exit last,
’cause she’d never jumped before,
And her static line she’d made fast,
and followed the others to the door.

The door had been opened, they’d got ready to jump,
and finally it was her turn to go,
Then something had caused the plane to bump,
and the door had swung, and closed to.

The pilot had struggled to regain control,
he’d used the joystick and rudder,
The plane had pitched and tried to roll,
then yawed, and finally did shudder.

Eventually, the plane had been levelled out,
and the lone skydiver was shaken,
“Do you still want to jump?” the pilot did shout,
She’d said, “Yes,”  though she was mistaken.

When the plane had tossed, she’d banged her head,
and blacked out for a while,
So she should have stayed in the plane, instead
she thought she’d jump out with style.

She opened the door, and fastened it back,
her training however, had slipped
She didn’t realise her static line was now slack,
no longer safely clipped.

She got to the door, and outside leant,
and looked down at the ground,
Then blacked out again, which unfortunately meant
she fell out, and was earthwards bound.

The angel was still sitting on top,
starting to enjoy the flight,
Then, seeing the girl from the doorway flop,
realised that all was not right.

The girl was spinning around and around,
and falling out of control,
She rapidly fell, not making a sound,
she’d be lucky to get down whole.

The angel now knew something was wrong,
and that something right had to be done,
So she threw herself from the plane, headlong,
knowing that she was the one
Who had to help, or the girl might die,
so she tucked back her wings, to go faster,
The girl was in peril, so she had to try,
even though it might end in disaster.

Like a stooping hawk, down she did hurl,
cutting through the air,
Rapidly closing up to the girl,
until, she got to where
She realised she had to be,
right underneath the skydiver,
Correctly placed, just where she,
the proper aid could give her.

She rolled herself over, her wings she spread out,
the right trajectory she had guessed,
Then caught the girl, the waist about,
and drew her to her breast.

By now they had neared to the ground,
there was no time the ’chute to release,
And the angel kept her arms tight around,
the girl, her rescue she would not cease.

And dropping, with her back to the ground,
with the girl held tight on top,
She sensed a large hand, around them wound,
and their downwards plummet stop.

They were gently lowered to the mold,
and laid there, side by side,
The skydiver was still out cold,
the angel’s eyes opened wide,
Because, as she lay in that place,
a mighty presence seemed
To be looking down on her with grace,
and around her, angels teemed.

It was then she swooned, and knew no more,
until she woke up in a bed,
And to her surprise, on looking up, saw
no halo was over her head.

A nurse sitting close by her bedside,
smiled at her and said,
“You’re really lucky to be alive,
and so’s your friend, who’s in the next bed.”

Just then the ward door opened wide,
and four people clattered in,
They stood around the skydiver’s bedside,
and made an awful din.

“Tell us what happened up there, in the plane,”
the angel heard one of them say,
“I really do not know how to explain,
or what actually happened that day.”

The girl continued, “I was ready to go,
when the plane seemed to receive a bump,
And then I thought, everything’s ok, so,
I decided to make the jump.

I do remember opening the door,
and looking down at the ground,
And then, I remember nothing more,
’til I woke up here, safe and sound.”

One of the crowd said, “You gave us a fright,
you came out of the plane, spinning round,
Of your parachute, there was no sight,
we were sure you’d crash into the ground.”

Another one said, “Something else wasn’t right,
we were certain that your ’chute was red,
Then one seemed to appear, that was lily-white,
which broke your fall instead.”

A third one spoke, “And another thing,
which I just can’t get out of my head,
It seemed as though I heard angels sing,
as I ran over, to check you weren’t dead.”

Finally, the fourth one said,
“And my mind’s still in a whirl,
We saw that not only weren’t you dead,
lying next to you was a girl,
Your parachute hadn’t opened, and
of the white one, there was no sign,
Though the girl by your side was holding your hand,
and wore a white dress of archaic design.”

Then all of them chattered together,
until the nurse made them leave.
The angel and girl looked at each other,
neither knowing what to believe.

Meanwhile, the Concorde had come in to land,
and when it had rolled to a stop,
The ground staff simply could not understand,
what, off its nose, they’d seen drop.

Things falling off planes can be serious,
so they got over there pretty sharp,
And then, they thought they were delirious,
cos, what had dropped off was a harp.
And a label, tied tightly to it was,
with a message upon it inscribed,
Send it to the hospital of St. Thomas,
the owner’s recovering inside.

The girl, to the angel, held her hand out,
and giving her a fond glance,
Said, “I’m really glad you were there about,
we don’t often get a second chance.”

*Grahame Upham
3rd January 2014.
Grahame Jun 2014
A  MOONLIT  KNIGHT.

Fern rises and looks out of her window.
Silver shards of moonlight lick the lawn.
She who once felt gay and oh so joyous,
Now feels oh so desolate and lorn.

Will she ever find true love again?
She before has never felt so low.
Should she, for love, continue searching?
Or give up by ending it here and now?

Outside, all is monochrome and still,
Inside, Fern is still and very sad.
Will she feel happiness again?
Who knows how long she’ll feel this bad?

At the stroke of midnight, there’s a change,
There seems to be a disturbance in the air.
Gradually something seems to materialise
On the lawn, a shape, come from where?

It is a knight, armoured cap-à-pie,
On a horse, for war caparisoned.
From his saddle hangs a jousting shield,
A silver moon on it is designed.

A white plume is mounted on his helmet,
On his lance a white pennon is tied.
The knight looks at her, at her window,
Silently he sits and does bide.

He raises a gauntleted hand and beckons,
Should she stay in, or venture out?
In her white nightdress she goes downstairs,
Deciding to see what it’s all about.

Cautiously she opens up the door,
And putting her head out, looks outside.
The knight still sits, patiently waiting.
Fern wonders what might now betide.

Slipping on an old pair of shoes,
She slowly walks over to the knight.
In her wake she leaves a dewy trail,
And as she nears, the knight fades from sight.

Fern wonders what this all might mean,
Is she dreaming or is she awake?
Is, what she has seen, been real?
Or has she made a big mistake?

Then, whilst standing there in wonder,
She happens to look down at the ground.
Where the knight was, the grass is trampled,
As though a horse has curvetted around.

Then she hears a sound from behind her,
And startled, Fern quickly turns round.
Her house no longer seems to be there,
In its stead, a keep there is stound.

The sound she hears is a woman calling,
“My Lady, please come back here inside.
You shouldn’t be alone out in the dark,
Please come back and in your chamber bide.”

The woman, from a window, looks at Fern.
“Excuse me, are you addressing me?”
Fern directs the question at the woman,
Who replies to her, “Of course, my Lady.”

“’Tis not safe out at this time of night,
And you are in your night attire dight,
So if someone, of you, catches sight,
You’ll not be seen in a good light.”

Before Fern can think of what to say,
She hears the sound of a galloping horse.
It is getting nearer in the dark.
She hopes that things will now not get worse.

“My Lady, quickly, please get you inside,
Do not just stand there as if dazed.
Hurry now, before it it too late.”
Fern, though, does stand there amazed.

Approaching through the night is a horse,
The one she’d seen before on her lawn,
The same knight is seated on its back,
Though now the pennant on his lance is torn.

The horse stops right next to Fern,
And caracoles to bring them face-to-face.
The knight lowers his lance to show his pennant,
Which Fern sees is a torn fragment of white lace.

The knight again does sit in stilly silence,
He waits, and does not make any demand.
Then lowers his lance to touch her nightdress’s hem,
When suddenly, Fern does understand.

The hem of her nightdress is lace trimmed,
So Fern bends, and seizes it in hand.
Then with a sharp tug she tears it off,
Removing it in a single strand.

The knight raises up his lance higher,
The old lace, from the lance, Fern does remove.
Then ties the furbelow on very tightly,
Saying, “Please take this favour with my love.”

The knight dips his lance in salute,
Then turns his horse, back down the road to face.
His spurs lightly touch the horse’s flanks,
Which straight away gallops off at pace.

Fern walks across to the keep.
The woman opens the main door wide.
Fern steps across the threshold,
And now, in her own house is inside.

She turns to look back across the lawn,
Which is still lit by the silver moon’s light.
The lawn is now smooth and unblemished,
With no marks caused by the steed of the knight.

Fern goes upstairs to her bedroom.
Has this all been a dream ere now?
Then, as she gets back into bed,
She sees her nightdress lacks its furbelow.

Fern remembers her nightdress has a pocket,
And into it, her hand she does place,
Then, to her utter amazement,
She pulls out a fragment of torn lace.

Fern wonders at what’s just happened,
Was it real, or only in her mind?
If it was just her imagination,
Why has she been able, the fragment to find?

Eventually Fern drifts off to sleep,
Waking with the chorus of the dawn.
Although she doesn’t think she has changed,
She no longer feels quite so forlorn.

“Why does the knight appear to me?
Why has he only come at night?
Is he trying to find out if he’s wanted?
Is he trying to make something right?”

Later on that day Fern walks to town,
And heads for the library to find,
If there are any references to knights
That might help to ease her troubled mind.

Fern does find a story of a knight,
Who had a moon device on his shield.
He was very brave in the fight,
And to a foe would never yield.

He had been commissioned to take a message,
To a lord, by order of the king.
It was to be delivered urgently,
And he was not to stop for anything.

He was nearly there when something happened.
By the side of the highway lay a maid.
Being a chivalrous knight, he should have stopped,
Instead, he carried on, not giving aid.

He delivered the message to the lord,
And later was seated, drinking in the hall,
When there entered in some serving men,
Carrying on their shoulders a shrouded pall.

They lay down their burden on the floor,
And without having said a word,
Reverently uncovered the face of a body.
It was the lady of the lord.

Then entered in another knight,
Who stepped up to the lord, and said,
“On our way here, we found your lady.
She was wounded, and now, alas, she’s dead.”

The other knight continued with his story,
“Seemingly, she had been robbed and *****.
There was no sign of the perpetrators,
We think they’d been disturbed, and then escaped.”

“Perhaps if we had managed to come sooner,
We might have been there to prevent this crime.
However, it seems the Fates conspired against us,
So we were not there to help in time.”

The Knight of the Moon sat there horror-struck,
He knew if he’d not been so keen to arrive,
Though helped, as his conscience had dictated,
The lady might yet even be alive.

Instead of speaking up, he stayed silent,
And never about this matter spoke a word.
Then he rose, and gave his condolence,
And went out from the presence of the lord.

The lady was removed to lie in state,
The Knight of the Moon went, to look at her face.
He knelt there in silent prayer awhile,
Then, from her dress, removed a length of lace.

He accoutred himself in his full armour,
Then rode from the keep that very night.
He left a note, stating his omission,
And of him, no-one ever saw a sight.

Fern is very sad to read this story.
What had then been in the knight’s mind?
Had he ridden off to end his disgrace,
Or the perpetrators, gone to find?

Fern now makes her thoughtful way home,
Hoping he’d found surcease from his torment,
Wondering what to him had befallen,
And if, for his lapse, he’d made atonement.

Fern reaches home rather tired,
So lies down on her bed, then falls asleep.
She dreams of knights in armour and fair damsels,
And jousting in the grounds of the keep.

Eventually, Fern wakens from her slumber.
She lies for a moment in her bed.
Yet again she thinks about her dream.
Was it real, or made up in her head.

“Perhaps,” she thinks, “I’m just on the rebound,
Because I’m still in mourning for my love.
And being of a romantic nature,
Dreaming of knights this does this prove.”

“Knights should have been chivalrous and kind,
Treating damsels in distress with care.
Except, when a knight I truly needed,
As it happened, there was not one there.”

“On that night, if we’d had some help,
My husband might still be alive.
Now, he has been taken from me,
And I feel that alone I cannot thrive.”

“However, life must go on as usual,
I should carry on, if just for him,
And so, perhaps, I should cease this moping,
And try to get on with my life again.”

So Fern gets up, refreshed from her nap,
Then decides, after eating, to go out.
That she must now get herself together,
Fern is not left in any doubt.

“Perhaps a short drive into the country,
And to stretch my legs, a gentle walk.
However, I will get on much quicker,
If I do not, to myself, talk.”

Fern puts on her coat and gets her bag,
Then goes out and walks to her car.
This is the first time that she’s driven
Since losing him, so she’ll not go too far.

Fern unlocks her car, and sits inside,
Then she is overcome with fear.
“Suppose, now, I am too scared to drive.
Perhaps I’d feel better if help was near.”

“Come on Fern, pull yourself together!
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
If you don’t do it now, then when?
Start the car, and let’s be on our way.”

So having given herself a little lecture,
Fern belts up, and pulls out of her drive.
Then, not really knowing where she’s headed,
Off she goes to see where she’ll arrive.

Fern motors out into the country,
And following a lane, drives up a hill.
At the top she parks and gets out.
Everything seems peaceful and so still.

She aimlessly ambles round the hill top,
And reads a notice saying it was a fort.
Then, Fern drifts off into a daydream,
And views the panorama without thought.

In her mind’s eye she sees a castle,
Decorated with many banners bright.
A tournament seems to be in progress,
And the winner is, of course, her moonlit knight.

Eventually, Fern becomes aware,
That she has gone some distance from her car.
So she slowly makes her way back to it.
She hadn’t meant to walk quite so far.

The shades of night are now falling fast,
And everything is starting to look grey.
So Fern unlocks her car and gets inside,
Ready to be getting on her way.

Slowly, she starts off down the hill,
The lane is very narrow with high hedges,
The moon is hidden behind some lowering clouds,
The track’s overgrown with grass and sedges.

Somehow, she’s gone a different way.
In the dark, everything seems wrong.
Fern is now starting to get worried,
And wonders why the track seems so long.

Eventually, she debouches onto a road,
Though she is not sure exactly where.
Fern is by now really anxious,
Then suddenly, gets an awful scare.

It looks just like the road they had been travelling,
When her husband lost control of the car.
It had skidded, spun and then rolled over,
The door had opened, and Fern had been flung far.

Her husband had still been trapped inside,
When it suddenly erupted into flame.
Fern could only stand and helplessly watch,
All the while loudly screaming his name.

No-one was around at that moment,
Perhaps someone might have pulled him out.
Then, as other motorists arrived,
They phoned for help, while listening to Fern shout.

Quite soon, a fire-engine came,
Closely followed by an ambulance.
The fire was eventually put out,
And Fern driven off still in a trance.

That had been several weeks ago,
And Fern has not since passed that place.
Now, it looks as if she is there,
And will, her darkest moment, have to face.

Then, to her horror, she sees a shape,
Dimly lit by her headlamps’ light.
It is a fallen motorcycle,
And the rider’s lying by it, just in sight.

Fern stops her car, and runs up to him.
Perhaps she can be of some aid.
As she approaches, the man gets up,
While a voice behind her says, “Don’t be afraid.”

“You just do exactly as we tell you.
We only want your money, and some fun.
Then, you can be on your way.
Do not even think of trying to run.”

The first man picks up the bike,
And pushes it to the road’s side.
The other man comes up close to Fern,
Who wonders again what might betide.

The wind blows the clouds across the sky,
Bringing the bright moon into sight.
The road that ’til then was hidden in darkness,
Is now lit with shards of silver light.

Fern then hears the sound of a horse,
Approaching through the wild and windy night.
The jingling of trappings can be heard,
And Fern thinks that now all will be right.

The courser slowly comes into view,
With the same knight seated on its back.
His lance is not couched, it’s held *****,
And the reins are loosely held, and quite slack.

Casually the steed comes to a stop,
And lowers his head to nibble at some grass.
The men, uncertain, both watch the knight,
While each wonders what might now pass.

One of them goes up to the bike,
And opens up the box on the back,
Then takes from it two crash helmets,
And a length of chain, which dangles slack.

He throws a helmet to his crony,
And they each fasten one upon their head.
Then they both turn to face the knight,
Who has not a word utteréd.

The one with the chain lifts it up,
And menacingly starts to whirl it around,
Then slowly walks towards the knight,
Who casually sits, not giving ground.

The other man reaches into his pocket,
Pulling out a wicked flick-knife,
And then, letting the blade spring open,
Prepares to join in with the strife.

He circles round the knight to the rear,
As the other man comes in from the side,
When the knight drops his lance into rest,
And suddenly, off he does ride.

He charges away from the men,
And gallops right past Fern at full speed.
Then, his lance aimed at the motorcycle,
He urges on his racing steed.

The lance pierces into the fuel tank,
And knocks the bike over in the road.
Petrol gushes out in a torrent,
And soon over the tarmac it has flowed.

The lance is broken in twain, the knight drops it,
And very quickly turns his horse about,
Then as he gallops back past the bike,
Both of the men start to shout.

Sparks from the horse’s hoofs come flying,
Igniting the petrol on the road.
Fern gives a shrill scream in panic,
Thinking that the bike might now explode.

The man with the chain wildly flails it,
Desperately trying to hit the horse’s head.
The knight strikes the man with a morning-star,
Who drops down, just like one who’s dead.

The knight then dismounts, drawing his sword,
And silently strides towards the other man,
Who flings away his knife, and starts running,
Fleeing just as fast as ever he can.

Fern sees the fallen man get up,
Rising groggily to stagger to his feet.
He looks at them, and then he turns away,
Slowly stumbling off, not yet too fleet.

Suddenly, the night becomes quite dark.
Clouds again, do the moon obscure.
Fern turns to try to thank the knight.
He’s gone, though she now feels secure.

Confidently she walks towards the bike,
And sees the lance by the fire’s light.
Fern bends and unties the lace from the lance,
And slowly walks back with it through the night.

She reaches her car, and gets inside,
Then starts driving off to get back home.
Belatedly thinking of her husband,
And wondering what next to her will come.

Safely arriving home, Fern parks the car,
And getting out, she sees on the lawn,
A pavilion has there been erected,
Turned rosaceous by the coming dawn.

The horse is also there, grazing tackless,
And by the entrance hangs a well-known targe.
Fern carefully goes and looks inside.
The pavilion’s quite small, not very large.

She sees the knight, kneeling on the ground,
His head bowed, as like one in prayer.
He holds his sword in front, just like a cross,
Of her, he seems not to be aware.

Quietly, Fern withdraws from the pavilion,
Then thinks, of the horse, to get a sight.
It’s nowhere to be seen, she turns around,
The pavilion’s now bathed in golden light.

As Fern stares at it in wonder,
See thinks that she can hear an ætherial sound,
Like a choir of heavenly angels singing,
And the pavilion vanishes from the ground.

Fern sees only a sword, stuck in the lawn,
And hanging from a nearby tree, the shield.
Then reliving what occurred in the night,
To tears of relief, Fern does yield.

She wonders if the knight has been translated,
Having now atoned for his mistake,
And Fern hopes that he’s managed to find peace,
For risking his life for her sake.

Fern hangs the sword above her bed,
And fastens the shield over her door.
She feels much more confidant now,
And is able to do so much more.

Sometimes though, when the moon is full,
Fern goes outside at midnight,
Carrying in her hand a strip of lace,
And seems just to vanish from sight.

At that time, if anyone was around,
They might then hear an unusual sound,
As though a fully accoutred
Grahame Jun 2014
THE BANSHEE*

Late at night, whilst lying in bed,
two sisters hear a sound of dread.
Mixed in with the beating hail,
is the dreaded Banshee’s wail.

The storm is directly overhead,
and the thunder so loud, no word is said
Because the sisters cannot hear
anything spoken, even shouted in ear.

However, over the storm’s great row,
they hear the Banshee even now,
Howling around the chimney top,
Oh, will that screaming never stop?

Fiona and Caitlín look at each other,
with fingers in ears, the noise to smother.
The Banshee, a dire harbinger of death,
is wailing louder with every breath.

Who will die in that house tonight?
It really doesn’t seem to be right.
Only the two girls live there now,
for either to die would be a blow.

Eventually, after a couple of hours,
the storm decreases to merely showers.
Quieter now calls the Banshee,
it seems to pleading, “Please help me!”

Fiona and Caitlín become afraid.
Why is the Banshee begging for aid?
It only cries, a death to foretell,
is it predicting its own death as well?

Finally the storm blows out,
and Fiona and Caitlín think about
The Banshee, is it still around?
Then they hear a moaning sound.

It abates, then rises again,
like some creature suffering pain.
The two sisters decide they should
try to help if they could.

With dawn’s approach it is getting light,
and so the sisters think they might
Go outside and try to see
if they can find the groaning Banshee.

The sisters live on a little croft,
in a cottage that’s got a goodly loft
With a sloping ceiling overhead,
in which they’d placed a double bed.

A few outbuildings dotted around,
a meagre crop grows in the ground.
A pig, some sheep and one milk-cow.
that has sustained them both ere now.

A donkey, more a pet than use,
and fattening for Christmas, one grey goose.
A flock of hens and one old duck,
the sisters haven’t had much luck.

The cottage, a mere but-and-ben,
the but, a parlour, the ben, a kitchen.
This hovel is heated by one hearth,
and chinks in the walls are stopped with earth.

The roof is only thatched with turf,
there’s a constant background noise of surf,
And though their homestead looks forlorn,
they have lived there since they were born.

The croft is quite close to the sea,
and seaweed, obtainable for free,
Is often collected by the sisters,
carried in buckets which gives them blisters.

They use it to fertilise their crop,
and work all day until ready to drop.
Their father had been lost at sea,
their mother, heartbroken, soon after died she.

The sisters dress and go outside,
to find the Banshee where’er it may hide.
They can no longer hear its moan,
and wonder if by now it’s flown.

They slowly walk around to try,
the importunate Banshee to spy.
It isn’t now on the roof at all,
it is lying huddled by the wall.

No longer seeming a creature of dread,
only a shivering person, nearly dead.
The sisters kneel down by her side,
they cannot just let her there bide.

“What can we to to help?” asks Fi.
“Nothing, please just let me die.”
“Not an option,” then declares Cait,
“I’ll fetch a blanket, you two wait.”

The Banshee turns her face away,
“I thought to be gone ere break of day.
I was flying across your croft
when the lightning struck down from aloft.”

“I’ve never been hit like that before,
I couldn’t then fly any more.
I tumbled down from out of the sky
in terrible pain. I thought I’d die.”

“And in my agony I screamed out,
not knowing you would hear me shout.
I am not here, your deaths to foretell,
I would for you that fear dispel.”

Then Caitlín does soon return,
Fiona says, “Our help she’d spurn.”
“Oh no she shan't,” Caitlín said,
“we’ll just to carry her to bed.”

To the girls the Banshee appears light,
extremely pale, albino white.
She hardly seems to have any weight,
and looks as though she rarely ate.

On her shoulders two white wings,
tiny little vestigial things.
Her only clothes, a vestment white,
ripped to shreds by the storm in the night.

Cait carefully lays the blanket down flat,
and they place the Banshee onto that.
Then lifting the blanket between them both,
they carry her in, though the Banshee’s loath.

They go into the but, through the ben,
noticing as they do so, when
The Banshee is shaken around,
she bites her lip hard to prevent any sound.

They lay the Banshee down on their settle,
realising she is full of mettle.
She obviously is still in great pain,
though will not show it, that is plain.

Fiona back into the kitchen goes,
intending to heat up some brose.
Caitlín with the Banshee does stay,
determined to help as best she may.

Beneath the Banshee’s head she lays
a pillow then to the Banshee says,
“You should get out of your wet clothes,
you could catch you death from wearing those.”

Caitlín realised as soon as she spoke,
to the Banshee that would be no joke.
“I’m sorry if I’ve offended you,
that’s the last thing I would want to do.”

“It is just that when *we
were wet,
these words from our mother we would get.”
The Banshee replies, “I don’t mind,
I know you’re trying to be kind.”

“And there’s something you should know,
no-one’s seen my body ere now.
However, although shy I may be,
I will try to let you undress me.”

Fiona at that moment comes in,
carrying on a tray of tin,
A bowl of brose with slices of bread,
then seeming surprised, to her sister said,

“Haven’t you yet the wight undressed
and warmed her up to help her rest?
If she stays in that dress, cold and wet,
she might catch her death from cold, yet!”

The Banshee and Caitlín glance at each other,
and then both snirt, which they try to smother
By each pretending to need to cough
while Fiona snaps, “Let’s get them off.”

Fiona places the tray on a table,
then kindly says, “I think I’ll be able,
If you sit up, to remove your gown,”
then worries, hearing the Banshee groan.

“I’m sorry, I am still in pain,
it came on when I moved again
As the result of having to cough.
Please do your best to get my robe off.”

Caitlín sits by the Banshee’s side,
and across her back her arm does slide.
She helps the Banshee to sit up straight,
who winces and then smiles at Cait.

Fiona manages to ease the robe down
to the Banshee’s waist then gives a frown.
“No wonder so much pain you’ve had,
the lightning seems to have burnt you bad.”

The Banshee’s skin is bleeding and raw,
the robe stuck in places making it sore.
Caitlín asks, “Why didn’t you say?
You don’t need to suffer this way.”

The Banshee begs, “Please don’t be mad,
until now my life’s been bad.
You’re the first mortals I have known,
until now I’ve been alone.”

Overcome with emotion, she cries,
the tears, in rivulets, fall from her eyes.
Caitlín hugs her close to her breast,
saying, “Soon you will be able to rest.”

“Fi, get some scissors and cut her robe free,
then bring some Aloe Vera to me.
I’ll use the sap to coat each wound,
and with strips of cloth they can be bound.”

So Fiona with scissors cuts the cloth,
while the Banshee closes her eyes, both
To avoid watching the scissors being used,
and not see the cloth to her body fused.

After cutting through as much cloth as she may,
Fiona picks the pieces away.
And then Caitlín does tenderly use,
to soothe the wounds, Aloe juice.

Fiona cuts the Banshee’s dress
into strips, which, more or less,
Provide enough cloth, the wounds to cover,
which they hope will soon heal over.

Fiona then goes to the bedroom to get,
to cover the Banshee, a dry blanket.
Caitlín stays sitting with her on the settle,
hoping the Banshee’ll soon be in fine fettle.

The blanket warms her up a treat,
then the sisters help the Banshee to eat.
Caitlín supports the Banshee’s head,
while Fiona feeds her brose and bread.

They leave her sleeping on the settee,
and go to the kitchen to brew some tea,
Then sitting down, they discuss what to do,
it’s new to them, they haven’t a clue.

Cait says, “I thought her a creature of myth,
a fable, though mentioned long sith.”
Fiona remarks, “And I thought as well,
she only appeared, a death to foretell.”

“This, she has said, is not why she’s here,
and also her life’s bad, so I fear
If we don’t help her to try to mend,
she might think her own life to end.”

At that the sisters feel so sad,
how can the Banshee’s life be so bad?
Since she’s a poor creature in so much need,
they’ll try to help and not ask for meed.

Into the parlour they quietly peep,
the Banshee still seems to be asleep.
So Fiona and Caitlín each start on a chore,
Fi feeds the hens, Cait goes to the shore.

On the beach Cait harvests seaweed,
collecting only as much as they need,
Then carries it back to the croft, up the lane,
trying to ignore, caused by blisters, the pain.

Cait leaves the buckets and enters the ben,
and sees the Banshee is awake, then
She goes to her and sitting down,
asks, “Why’ve you always been on your own?”

The Banshee replies, “That’s just how it is.
There’s never been a time ywis,
That I’ve ever met another like me.
Mayhap I’m the only one to be.”

At that the Banshee seems so sad,
and continues, “And what else is bad
Is that I feel Death draw near
to mortals. That’s the time I fear.”

“I cannot stop that ‘sergeant fell,’
however, I feel his pull too well.
I feel so sad at what he does,
and try to help by being close.”

“That is why when he is present,
I always try not to be absent.
I give warning as best I might,
by screaming loudly in the night.”

“People hear me and suppose,
I am there, a life to foreclose.
Then I feel the awful hate,
which from the mortals does emanate.”

Caitlín then goes back outside,
leaving the Banshee safe inside.
Fiona and Cait continue the work
that they must do and should not shirk.

Fiona finally milks the cow,
and hoping the Banshee’s feeling less low,
Pours some warm milk into a cup,
and carries it in for the Banshee to sup.

The Banshee wakes as Fiona comes in,
Fi says to her, giving a grin,
“I can’t believe you’re really here,
I must say, you are quite a dear!”

The Banshee gratefully takes the cup,
and with Fi’s help drinks the milk up.
Then back down on the couch she does lie,
and Fiona, embarrassed, again sees her cry.

Fiona sits down by her side,
while the Banshee tries, her face to hide.
Fiona, silent, her hand does hold,
noticing it’s very cold.

She strokes the Banshee’s silvery hair,
and waits for the tears to disappear.
The Banshee, eventually, does her eyes dry,
and then gives out a heartfelt sigh.

“I am so happy here with you,
without you I’d not know what to do.
Please forgive my moody tears,
I haven’t cried like this for years.”

“The first time was when I experienced Death.
I was drawn to a blasted heath,
Where a woman had a babe, stillborn,
and was gazing at it so forlorn.”

“She’d been constuprated in a wood,
by a man who’d left as soon as he could.
She was overcome with shame,
she hadn’t even known his name.”

“The babe was born before its time,
the ground was cold and hard with rime.
The woman did not even have
a ***** to dig the baby’s grave.”

“She opened the clothes across her chest,
and wrapped it tightly to her breast,
Then untied the cincture from her waist,
moving slowly not in haste.”

“When, going to a nearby tree,
not knowing I was there to see,
Around a branch she did it thread,
and hanged herself. She soon was dead.”

“Death knew what there would occur,
and therefore, to lay claim to her,
Had gone to the heath to watch her die,
and I’d been drawn, by Death, nearby.”

“I could feel the woman’s pain.
It came in waves again and again.
I didn’t know what it did mean,
and in my anguish I did keen.”

“My voice grew louder, I did scream,
Death looked at me and it did seem
At that moment, in pity, said,
‘She really is now better off dead.’”

They then hear the back door open
as Caitlín enters into the ben.
She shuts it close and locks it tight,
as she comes inside for the night.

“The animals are safely put away,
and now it’s time to hit the hay.
I’ll make supper and a *** of tea,
then it’s off to bed for me.”

Fiona says, “I’ll give you a hand.”
Then slowly stretches and up does stand.
She goes with Cait to make the tea,
leaving behind the poor Banshee.

Fiona tells Cait of the Banshee’s plight,
though they cannot think how to make it right.
They place three bowls and cups on a tray,
and back to the parlour make their way.

The Banshee sits up, with her feet on the ground,
it seems as though some strength she’s found.
She takes a bowl and says, “I suppose
it’s another delicious helping of brose.”

She beams at the sisters, who feel a glow
deep inside them slowly grow.
They realise that perhaps this is how
the Banshee is able, her feelings to show.

The Banshee asks, “Will it be all right
if I go outside for a stroll tonight?
I’ll only take a turn round the croft,
I will not try to fly aloft.”

“I am a denizen of the night,
which is why I thought I might
Have a walk by the light of the moon.
I promise I will be back soon.”
  
Round the Banshee’s waist Cait ties some rope
so that the blanket will not ope,
Then walks with her across the floor,
to help her get to the back door.
  
Caitlín unlocks it and opens it out,
though, for the Banshee, has some doubt.
Suppose the effort is too great?
She can only watch and wait.

Meanwhile Fi does the washing up,
and then she shouts, “I’m going up
To make our bed, don’t be late!”
Caitlín replies, “All right, don’t wait.”

Fiona goes to the top of the stair,
she makes up the bed then brushes her hair.
She quickly undresses and gets into bed,
and on the pillow rests her head.

Caitlín’s still standing at the door,
she’s not anxious any more.
The Banshee seems to be doing fine,
walking slowly in the bright moonshine.

As she walks she seems to get stronger,
so Caitlín, waiting for her for longer
Than she’d thought that she might do,
steps outside to have a walk too.

She takes the Banshee by the hand,
For a time they slowly walk round and
Then the Banshee asks to stop,
to rest before she’s likely to drop.

Still on her feet the Banshee sways,
and seems to be in a sort of daze.
So Caitlín holds her in her arms tight,
and thus they stand in the bright moonlight.

Hugging the Banshee close to her breast,
she’s aware of her nearness to their guest.
Caitlín feels her heart start to pound,
and in some confusion stands stilly and stound.

Then she pulls herself together,
at the same time wondering whether
She has experienced her first love,
or if this feeling false will prove.

So fragile and helpless the Banshee appears,
Caitlín can’t help but be moved to tears.
She lifts her up, and carries her inside,
and places her onto the sofa to bide.

Caitlín then stumbles up the stairs,
Fiona is shocked to see her in tears,
And asks her if she is all right,
and if anything’s happened out there in the night.

Caitlín, crying, lies down on the bed,
then Fiona, on her *****, pillows Caits head.
She gently wipes Caitlín’s tears away,
and waits to hear what she might say.

Caitlín then cuddles up to Fi,
saying, “Thank you for looking after me.
Really, I am quite all right,
nothing bad happened out there in the night.”

“It’s just that the Banshee is still frail,
she appeared to be getting a little more hale,
And then she seemed to become weak again,
so I carried her in, on the sofa she’s lain.”

Cait then stands and doffs her dress,
and gets into bed, still feeling a mess.
Fiona holds Cait as to sleep they go,
and they stay like that the whole night through.

Fiona and Caitlín wake up together,
and happily smile at one another.
It’s the start of a brand new day
which they’ll face together, come what may.

Fiona dresses and downstairs goes she,
into the kitchen to make some tea.
Caitlín shortly comes down too,
entering the parlour, the Banshee to view.

The Banshee wakes as Caitlín goes in,
still looking pale and painfully thin.
Caitlín sits on the sofa with care,
saying, “Last night you gave me quite a scare.”

“You seemed to get stronger in the moonlight,
so I thought everything was going all right.
Then I feared that you might fall down,
and so I carried you back here on my own.”

The Banshee responded, “I’m ever so sorry.
I didn’t mean to cause you worry.
I also felt I was getting str

— The End —