The Seat on the Hill was my first, and last attempt at writing an old fashioned ballad.
The seat in question is the same one that inspired The Bench, (Remembering) the poem I wrote for my late wife, Doreen.
The withered tree stood on the hillside
looking over Morden vale.
Beneath its bough, a wooden seat,
carved with hearts and names, and dreams
And on that creaking timber sat
a woman, dressed in winter garb,
a tight scarf pulled beneath her chin,
covering her greying hair.
Her boots were worn but useful still,
her coat, a faded scarlet hue,
upon scarred hands soft buckskin gloves,
a gift of love from one who cared.
A single tear ran down her cheek,
she whispered soft, then cried aloud,
then dropped her head into her hands
and cursed the world and all its lies.
'What did I do that was so wrong
that you have blighted me so well?
Why take away the one bright thing
I held within this dismal life?'
And from her coat she drew a blade
that glimmered in the dwindling light,
she stained the weapon with her tears, then
held it to her heaving breast.
She begged that courage not desert her,
placed two hands upon the hilt.
She prayed aloud to find the strength
to silence that wild beating heart.
Then from the path a figure strayed,
a handsome man in working clothes.
He caught her as she fell to ground
and held her face between his hands.
'Why look so dark when winter's turned
its back, and giving way to spring?
Your heart should lift with hope anew,
who knows what joys the summer brings.'
'I have no love for winter’s end.
For me the snows will ever lie
upon this frozen heart, so cold,
that seven suns could never thaw.'
‘He said his love would ever hold me,
would withstand whatever trial,
the fates, or God, could lay upon it.
Thomas Archer never lies.'
As she spoke a mist descended,
and as she peered through fading light,
she saw the stranger’s face above her,
smiling down from ‘midst the gloom.
She heard the voice of Thomas Archer
soothing her with quiet sounds,
he lifted her in one swift movement,
carried her in able arms.
They left the path and slowly vanished
through the mist upon the hill
and on the wooden seat left empty
a double heart was carved, with love.