The willow tree (a ballad)

I weep, in the dark hours of morning, at the willow’s memory.

That’s where we’d meet. Hold each other tight. Whisper our love. And in cowardice I kept my betrothal from her.

I told her we’d be together always—a promise I knew to be hollow.

When I saw her with another, under the willow’s sweeping branches I turned without hearing her dismiss him. But I heard her cry when she saw me, sure enough. I walked away.

Only later, mired in troubled thought, did I determine to tell her what I’d kept secret. I could withhold the truth no longer.

But like a fool I drank for courage. Too much wine. She found me unmoving from its effects; laid out at the base of our sturdy trunk.

Then, thinking me poisoned she carved out the lines I hear nightly.

Davey, oh Davey, I’ll hurt you no more

For you were the one I did truly adore

Where we lay together I now set you free

as I lay down alone beneath our willow tree

Then  she turned the blade against the bare flesh of her wrist.