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The Willow in the Dell

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  • The Willow in the Dell

    Drawn, but fitfully I drowsed
    'neath the willows' summer gown
    on moss fragrant and soft
    as rare and eldritch eiderdown.

    The soothing susurration
    of the stream through the dell,
    summoned dreams like a wraith,
    rising, from the depths of a well.

    Half mazed there I lie sleeping
    'midst visions softly creeping
    loosed from my conscious mind's safekeeping
    'neath the willow in the dell.

    Scenes of slaughter, scenes of laughter,
    scenes to titillate a pastor,
    passing fast and ever faster
    than mortal man could tell.

    Apace the voices swell:
    once whispers, now clanging bells.
    No more pain, no more toil,
    no more battle therein embroiled.

    Let slip the mortal coil,
    your earthborn woes dispel
    and forever herein dwell
    'neath the willow in the dell.

    "Elsbeth," fell voices cajoled,
    "once again yours to hold;
    your life's breath forever
    and worldly wealth untold."

    But the Deceiver speaks to beguile;
    honeyed words to masque the bile
    of deeds aphotic and foul:
    malice with a harlequin's smile.

    And dreams however bidden
    nor celandine or gold's glisten
    could ne'er restore the maiden
    deep within my heart riven

    Dully thence came I waking
    blood pounding, but dread abating
    alone and quite forsaken
    'neath the willow the dell.

    A lurid moon cast shadows darkling
    through the stillness of the glade
    yet gamboled o'er the stream, sparkling,
    to the tinkling that it made.

    And I walked away in silence
    with a sadness I could not quell;
    still hearing the wind whisper "Elsbeth,"
    through the willow in the dell.

    Raleigh, NC
    Last edited by D.F.Russell; 12-30-2014, 12:01 PM.

  • #2


    • D.F.Russell
      D.F.Russell commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you.

  • #3
    I'm going to start calling myself Elsbeth! LOL


    • #4
      a bit morbid but very nice


      • #5
        LOL... I've written/painted things that will only be seen posthumously. Thank you, though.


        • #6
          Sarah, Pamela.. Thank you.


          • #7
            Interesting cadence shifts.


            • #8
              Thank you.


              • #9
                Well done indeed. I find this very reminiscent of The Raven in theme, though the language and tone is a bit different.


                • #10
                  Thank you. The theme IS relatively common... very few new things under the sun. Art of any sort should evoke an emotional response and to do that, it needs to be something to which other people can relate. I'll certainly not object to having it compared to the Raven or anything Poe wrote, for that matter


                  • #11
                    I enjoyed the lucid imagery and subtle but effective use of alliteration within the stanzas -- I wish I had such restraint! Very nice.


                    • #12
                      I read twice, then sat with it. Read again... the last verse is perfection.
                      And I walked away in silence
                      with a sadness I could not quell;
                      still hearing the wind whisper "Elsbeth,"
                      through the willow in the dell.


                      • D.F.Russell
                        D.F.Russell commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thank you. I worked on that off/on for about a year, and it's written to pull you into the last several lines.

                        'Silence is a girl's loudest cry
                        Her radiant smile a colorful mask
                        Few can listen, most hear laughter.'

                        Do you think it's much different for (intelligent) men?

                        You appear to be very young / attractive, intelligent and empathetic. That's almost guaranteed to make anyone unhappy!

                        I mostly work, read, paint, write....

                        The painting I use as an avatar is one of mine.

                      • Suz-zen
                        Suz-zen commented
                        Editing a comment
                        What an admirable commitment to your art! I don't think I have that.
                        "Do you think it's much different for (intelligent) men?"- it can be... i have experienced it both ways.
                        Your observations are appreciated. For sure empathetic...emotional intelligence, yes... young/attractive? Well, that is all relative!

                        Your painting shows more of your talent...oil
                        I use watercolor and photography (my self portraits never show my entire face) and collage/mixed media. I read whatever I can get my hands/eyes on.What are you reading now?

                    • #13
                      No, not commitment... I alternate between a number of hobbies, revisiting them periodically.

                      Actually, that one is a watercolor. Try using different paper and mixing in some agar etc. The effect changes. That was a 6ply bristol instead of Arches etc.

                      Reading: a green, leather copy of Hunting of the Snark and an English Grammar book from from 1862

                      The photo you're using as an avatar, I assumed was a professional shot with a model.
                      Last edited by D.F.Russell; 04-09-2016, 12:08 PM.


                      • #14
                        Well crafted. Awesome peace of poetry. I'm loving it!!