(04 October 1943 / Germany)

The Oak Was Strangely Neutral

A frosty morning of new Spring,
just before the ancient copper bell
commenced its plaintiff sounds
sending them from the monastery
into the countryside, to sinners,
their contemplation while listening
to the first song of the lark,
and watching, with lustful eyes
as the milkmaiden crossed the bridge,
hurrying toward the barn and docile cows,
hawthorn and a thousand suns of dandelion,
painting the meadow now, while waiting
for the shadows of the oaks and firs,
and the stringy hair of weeping willows,
standing, swaying as if to speak
and let all know about this great uncertainty
of life, here in the hidden valley,
where just one hamlet stood, a shabby
though romantic cedar shack, a dusty glass
attempting to reflect the sagging chimney
that sat, in awkward pose amongst the moss,
and had been good enough to build a nest
to house the happy couple, the noisy Crows.
She sat, so deep in thought and filled with silence,
she never heard the halting steps, or heard
the stifled cry, which signaled a completion,
an answer for one man that suited only one,
he would have hesitated in his praise for others,
there was a sudden raw finality buried within
himself and his demented choice, but then,
he would not know, no wisdom was to flow
into a future he had tied and roughly dropped
amidst the singing of the lark and of the bell
still calling from within the ancient monastery,
and, close, the hamlet's stony face, below
home to the busy chatter of the happy Crows.
At last she saw, he hung, strangely in pose
dead eyes still open, nodding now as if to say
Yes it was proper though I would not recommend
to anyone, or you, a lovely girl who dreams,
to follow me into a world without a rationale.
No words were spoken yet she understood
and watched for hours, with her hopeful eyes
for just the smallest sign from him, suspended
from the majesty of that indifferent oak,
but it was not to be, he could not move his head
from side to side, and if there was a whisper
it was never heard, that day by any living soul.

User Rating: 5,0 / 5 ( 2 votes ) 4

Comments (4)

Dear Herbert to generate atmosphere, is something that comes from within, this has that abillityand you have shown this talent in this piece so well: 'No words were spoken yet she understood and watched for hours, with her hopeful eyes for just the smallest sign from him, suspended from the majesty of that indifferent oak, ' It is a clever man who place s words in such a way Love duncan X
Romantic and the better for it. I really enjoyed this Herbert. The language you employ is beautiful and though I am not a person you puts too much store in nostalgia, I certainly can apreciate when something is created with passion and skill. Excellent my friend.
What a poem! The details you put in here...with the cedar shingles and the weeping willow etc, just add to the depth you've built here Herbert. I could almost hear those church bells in the distance. Very sad....yet, somehow beautiful. Great work! (And, it's in English!) Sincerely, Mary
Herbert this was an extraordinary poem of imagery, and theme, though disturbing at points to read the grief, and sadness weaved between each line crafted beautifully with spirit.