2014 Poetry Theme Challenge

#16 Courting Couples

Thank you all who took up the last challenge. I hope this next one provides you some food for the muse. This next challenge is made with the view it is Sonnet month here for the Tir na nog poets. Sonnets are the epitome of love and romantic poetry. Courtship is the period in a couple's relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind. During courtship, a couple get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement or other such agreement. It is often informal and private between the two people.

So let's play and set our hearts a-wooing

The Indian Serenade


I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Hath led me -- who knows how?
To thy chamber window, Sweet!


The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream --
The Champak odours fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart; --
As I must on thine,
Oh, belovèd as thou art!


Oh lift me from the grass!
I die! I faint! I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast; --
Oh! press it close to thine again,
Where it will break at last.

P.B. Shelley

Courting Couples Challenge

Kathy Anderson

It Was You

Terry Clitheroe

At River Bank
Everything to Me
Gentle on my mind
My Memories
New Moon
Preludio ad un Bacio
Solitude (Loneliness)
That Look
Under the Moon
York Beach

Divena Collins

Bushes and Briars
Dawn Star
The Waltz Goes On
Wheel of Fortune

Jez Farmer

Clouds of Twilight
Dance of Life
Forest Walk
My Lady....Luzvimninda's Sonnet

Leny Roovers


Peter Willowdown

Persimmon in the Golden Wood

Kathy Anderson

It Was You

You were in a dream that I had
And we were staring at each other
In a crowded theater all mad
Midst chaos and din another
Moment in time carved by lovers,
Frame by frame or oil pastels
Frozen forever 'tween glass covered
These pressed leaves and petals;
Sap rising in our sugar maples
Sharing the rains growing our roots
Deeper than reddest orchards apples
Love blooms in shaded peaceful spots,
Dreamt and remembered like the first
Time we kissed to quench its thirst.

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Terry Clitheroe

At River Bank

At river bank with its hues of green
We did not know that first time
Midst hills and trees a perfect scene
Our love would grow so sublime.
We happily talked and fell in love
As our love grew we did not mean
To cause others pain, or to demean
But hurt we did and were guilty of.
We sat and talked on a bank of green
I touched your face no longer mine
And we drove away that final time
Sadly knowing what should have been.
That day two lonely people left the scene
At river bank with its hues of green.


Everything to Me

You came into my dreams with your smile
Waking me up from the lethargy of life
That look would eternally beguile
Any man, and destine him to an afterlife.
In search of that one look, that time again
Would beg you to repeat for him alone,
Knowing full well your heart is not of stone
Would repeat that smile and win your swain.
Having won your prize, think nothing less of this
Wilfully ignoring what fate has in store
You now possess my heart and soul and more
How easy was I won, with just a simple kiss
But I will not be your abject slave, no way!
Knowing finally, what that look had to say.


Gentle on my mind

I still remember all my days with you
But most of all I remember the nights.
Nights together spent on fancied flights
We knew each other for so long
When we met feelings were so strong
Now we're apart there's only cloud
I wonder to whom do I cry out loud?
My bed at night lacking you is so cold
I would rather a different tale be told.
Once the feeling of being complete
Of nights of warmth and passions heat
A confused world questions my plea
Realised long ago when we used to be
Looking down from our starry view.

Gentle on my Mind - Lauraest


My Memories

Are my memories of you now any less?
Passing time cannot change my mind
With your love I am twice blessed
As looking deep inside myself I find.
Even when alone at morn when I wake
I feel you by me still; your warmth is there
My hand moves and feels your breast so bare
And as I kiss I feel your body shake.
Even though awake my eyes are closed
My hands and body tells me what it knows
I feel you move as inside as my love grows
Why open them, is the question posed?
So each night as I sleep in a strange bed alone
I close my eyes and in reality I’m in our home.


New Moon

Tonight is the new moon for this month
Not ashamed just shy, wondering what.
She'll hide within the clouds, just disappear
Making it difficult to be optically caught.
Twenty eight days she will be with us
Growing from a virgin to a teasing tart,
So easily will she learn her natural art
And about all this philosophers will discuss.
Lovers will plight their troth under her
Some will smile at her and ask her blessing
Whilst some to their lovers will be professing
And the unloved cynic will ignore, not care.
Although a virgin she'll be the Earths mother
And all those in love would have no other.


Preludio ad un Bacio (Prelude to a Kiss)

As I look at you held so safely in my arms,
Looking into your dark eyes is like looking
At a candle and surrendering to its charms
Without scent I still find you to be hooking.
I see your eyes close and then even so covered
I feel them holding me like a snake's charms
But this time there's no cause to have alarms
Knowing your desires for a while I hovered.
Our lips touch and creates magic so benign
The dull day takes on a far different hue.
The day lights up and, the sky blues, bluer
As I feel your soft warm lips melt on mine.
When you kiss, you cannot hide yourself
As souls unite in a commitment to loss of self.


Solitudine (Loneliness)

I cannot hold on to what I couldn't find
I couldn't find strength without love
Or couldn't find love because I was blind
Even though you are all I can think of.
Without you I am completely alone
I'd forgotten what pain could be hidden.
In that loneliness I did not know when
Loves lifeline would, could be thrown.
As the darkness shielded my vision
It enabled me to block out the rusty bits
Of a broken memory that no longer fits
With this new sight I've made a decision.
As I close my eyes a new sight envelops me
Though blind what better sight than of thee.


That Look

Would that smile invite a single kiss
Nay much more's offered with all this
Even more with just one single touch.
One single glance betrays so much
So much heaven and so much bliss
The dimpled cheeks, the flashing eyes
That now coy look could not disguise
The reddened face and sudden clutch,
One single glance betrays so much.
What I offer is love not just a crush
Former barriers have been torn down
And fashions now a flimsy gown
Now with passion you like to brush
One single glance betrays so much.


Under the Moon

Surrender to me in passion and desire.
Come to me love, if only in your mind
Our souls, our secrets we will unwind
Your needs I'll sprinkle with loves fire
I'll pleasure you, be your love supplier.
Under the moon we'll meet each night
If the sun doesn't rise there's still moonlight
Come to me my love just take my hand
And I'll hold you forever, in wonderland
When dawn appears, we'll open our eyes
What ever the clock we need never rise.
Sharing love with stars and moonbeams
Assuring you I will fill all your dreams
And Eternity together will be our prize.



Why has your magic woven into my heart?
What made you conceive what would start,
From the warmth of a friend, hardly a flame?
Is it a sin that we should lay a blame,
Or being friends have already played our part?
Why have I become intoxicated by you,
That like any drunk, I need more of your brew?
Each night I need to sip more of your wine
Each time finding you more and more divine.
Like any drunken sot I need you more
In amounts greater than e're before
And you encourage me to heights of sup
With succulent juices that o'erflow my cup
Ensuring that its you forever I'll adore.


York Beach

It was another sunny day, another time.
It was autumn, the tourists had gone away.
Slightly warmer perhaps for this clime
We had decided this was the place to stay.
Each morning together walking along the beach
Stopping awhile to skim a stone or steal a kiss
Such were our days and such was our bliss.
Then chase on again to run just out of reach
Daily drives to tourist traps and shopping malls
Or spend a day driving visiting old friends
Too soon time calls "Quit" and all this ends
And the nights of love where I was enthralled
Driving back with a Guinness smile and a memory
Through mists of time remembering what used to be.

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Divena Collins

Bushes and Briars

She cast her weary eyes upon the land
A lass who arose from the early dawn
The land was all she could understand
Tho`hard the earth to be tilled upon
Oft times a maiden shalt a milken go
Whilst laddies be afightin`in fields
Where thee red poppies seed yields
As the great winds of war shall blow
Shall they ere come home once again
She looks towards a far off horizon
When sun is down the moon is arisen
Shall she stand another night in pain
Keepin`thee old home fires a burnin`
When all thee time she be a yearnin


Dawn Star

Past dreams shall waken unto a dawn star
So bright it shines upon the morning dew
That seems to beckon true love from afar
And night time shadows shall be but a few
As elation shines within both lovers eyes
'Tis then that darkness shall be forgotten
A sensation that ever outshone the skies
Such when an eternity became besotten
Moonbows had spread thro'out the land
To grace the path of an eternal serenity
That shows a vision only they understand
To face the wonders ever within eternity
There may be no sorrow of a broken love
This day the dawn star shone from above.


The Waltz Goes On

Autumn leaves waltzing in a breeze
Softly of touch that melts the heart
Within a mystical notation of trees
As a lovers waltz shall never depart
They may be lost in a trance of love
Deeply within eyes there is no other
Upon dreams shalt be both together
As the warmth of their bodies prove
Nature and love are of earths tempo
Within the sensuality of their dance
Enhancing loves charms unto trance
That shall forever reach a crescendo
Which close together shall rely upon
When the waltz of love still goes on.


Wheel of Fortune

There is sadness within my voice
Tears stain face frae a heartache
But blessed be for my ain sake
Mayhaps it was ne-er by choice
Hurt and sorrow wont go astray
But I shall not fail to love again
Even tho` I shall bear much pain
When heartache has the final say
Yet it may take just a little longer
Memories pass as time moves on
If there is a shoulder to lean upon
Consolation is bliss, heart stronger
Giving way to all the hurt and pain
As the wheel of fortune turns again.

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Jez Farmer

Clouds of Twilight

The clouds of twilight reflect the sweet face
Of love; the smile that drives a heart with grace
For that smile is mine and it's mine alone
And it reminds me of that sweet embrace.
Dark passions behind those eyes I've been shown
For it is in darkness that love is known
When a touch can explore the open soul
Thus the seeds of a divine love were sown.
And in that love I felt you make me whole
When fingers scribed my skin in sacred scroll
I felt the pleadings of words on my lips
As my heart yielded upon love's control.
More, more than a brief passing of two ships
As minds meet in a lunar eclipse
In that moment all of time swiftly slips
From the grasp of a man who now is lost
In love; ready to give whatever cost
This is the moment a heart must defrost
When a hand offers love in all that's true
As my hand now offers my love to you.


Dance of Life

With simple rhythms upon mother's knee
A baby's feet begins the dance of life
The beat of nature is all there can be
In mother's love he begins his growing
'Til he's ready to dance his dance alone
In living discovery is flowing
And a man becomes all that he has known.

Dance of Life by Jana Emburey


A Forest Walk

I whispered I love you again today
As we held hands among the forest trees
And watched the moon reflect a woodland frieze
While listening for music of the fae
In that most magical moment, I knew
That love had touched my soul when I kissed you
I whispered I love you, just words they say
Three little words that are the only way
To express the feelings you make me feel
Yet I knew that nothing could be more real
Among the trees with no floral bouquet
I pledged my heart. And darling if I may
Then let me be the one you call your man
Here in the woods where our journey began
And I'll whisper I love you more each day


My Lady

She wanders through the living to find one
To journey on beyond the worldly sun
The one whose mortal time has had its run
And we fear her hand in the shades of dun.
Yet she is beauty and of divine grace
The maiden with the kind and smiling face
Who's come to guide us to a better place
But we fear leaving earth without a trace.
Her gentle hand that leads us to the light
Where the soul finds its glorious respite
And pain has lost all its powerful might
Yet we fear her path leads to endless night.
She waits patiently at her sacred gate
Until fear no longer resists our fate.

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Leny Roovers

Relations (Lunatic sonnet)

Each relationship knows its highs and lows
passion can rage fiercely, then flows
just like a gentle river, between throes.
It is quite easy to walk to hill's top
a rising path takes you up in one hop
you reach your goal without having to stop.
Mountain climbing has other attractions
when joined together without distraction
views from the top bring great satisfaction.
Cherish those moments when pastures are green
the sky is flawless, no clouds to be seen
such gifts from heaven never get routine.
Inspiration is now completely spent
this Lunatic sonnet I don't repent.

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Peter Willowdown


Where are you now
Deva of the birch trees?
- no longer a dryad
but a woman of flesh and blood
forgetful of your sylvan origin
fingers and toes instead of branches and roots
hair instead of leaves
- has the promise of warm blood
fulfilled your expectation
was the exchange of the patient wisdom of the forests green sap
for the heat of human passion a worthwhile trade?

Deva of the birch trees
I pass you in the street everyday
but you do not recognise me
the lines of care upon your brow and around your eyes
like the markings of some unfamiliar creature
in the white fields of winter.
I perch on the top of this abandoned bus-stop
watching the reflection of early morning traffic
in dirty, rainbow-streaked puddles
observing the furtive activity of cats
and the slow death of hedgehogs.

Deva of the birch trees
you do not even turn your head
when I call your name.
Once I sat on your windowsill all night
oblivious to the hooting of my fellow owls
as they hunted for fieldmice and voles
in the fields behind the Municipial Park.
The moon fell on your sleeping features
and I wondered of I was not mistaken after all
that you had never been a reckless child of the forest
but had been born of mortal man and woman.
But then I saw you toss and turn upon your pillow
and heard you speak the name of Pan.
I imagined then that you opened your eyes,
and seeing my silhouette outside your little room,
smiled momentarilly in your sleep
before returning to your chosen oblivion.

Deva of the birch trees
the forests of my heart are desolate without you.
Other dryads try to comfort me
but their words are worthless platitudes.
My fellow owls look at me mournfully
and blink their wise, round eyes.
"We knew nothing good would come of this friendship,"
they seem to say,
"owls should stick to their own kind.
One day, perhaps, he will leave the woods altogether,
trading his feathers for an office-workers suit,
forsaking the silvery Moon-roads of the Night
for the dusty streets of the city,
renouncing the freedom of the hunter's wind
for the faint hope of meeting her again
in the forest of concrete and glass
that even sensible fieldmice avoid.
Even Lady Artemis cannot always protect owls
from the wayward smiles of dryads
and the madness of love."



Decay fell in love with Beauty and did everything he could to win her favour but Beauty was enamoured of Youth and spurned his ardent advances.
"Fair vision of Beauty," said Decay, with his soft gentle voice like falling leaves on autumn winds.
"Here is a garland of faded flowers I have plucked for you. The bright and garish colours of spring and summer have fled with all their cloying scents and power to distract, leaving the subtle tints and musks of passing time. Let me place it about your neck and admire you."

"Never," declared Beauty in horror, holding her delicate snow white nose and shirking back fastidiously. "It is old and ugly and smells of mildew and rot! What are you thinking of?"

Decay hung his head in shame as his beloved Beauty skipped nonchalently away to bat her fluttering eyelids at Youth and brush his body with her breasts.

"What can I do to win her hand?' thought Decay to himself as he wandered through a field of flowers, idly draining them of colour until their petals fell away and their leaves wilted and withered.
As he trod beside the banks of a river twilight slowly descended and a nightingale began to sing from its home in the eaves of the wood.
"I know," thought Decay, "I will compose a song in praise of Beauty. I know that she loves music - perhaps that is the way to her heart!"

And so, decay composed a song and when he had finished he took it to Beauty and sang it to her in his soft gentle voice like falling leaves on autumn winds.
He sang of the fine white threads of silver he would weave into her golden hair so that the moon would look down at her and wonder;
he sang of the creases and wrinkles he would place beneath her eyes and on her brow, signifying care and wisdom; he sang of the gentle caress of accumulating hours and days and the slow blossoming of innocence into experience...
but even as he sang his expression turned to one of dismay and his sofy gentle voice, like falling leaves on autumn winds, faltered in his throat, for Beauty had turned pale and was staring at him aghast. She placed her dainty, dove-like hands over her ears and squeezed her eyes tightly shut.

"Away!" she cried in a pitiful and tremulous voice. "Why do you torment me with these vile and terrible notions. Have you no sense of style or finesse?
I am enamoured of Youth, who tells me how fair and golden my hair is whilst gently blowing upon the fragrant down at the nape of my neck. He praises the soft milky whiteness of my bosom whilst fervently kissing the snowy orchid of my throat with ardent lips of fire.
Go away, old man, and sing your ugly songs to the crooked Willow-maids weeping by the river or to the Witch in her house of bones in the heart of the Ancient Forest."

Poor Decay! What could he do? He so loved the fair but haughty Beauty but she spurned his every devotion, thinking only of Youth and his artful, casual flattery.

* * *

Now it so happened that one day, as Youth was out doing manual labour in the fields and the sun was flirting about him, brushing his muscles and handsome face with her warm fingers, he saw a pale and enchanting figure moving slowly in the distance, her dark hair gleaming like midnight as she stooped to mourn a fallen flower or some small dead animal laying in the grass.
It was Sorrow - and even from a distance Youth could see a tiny silver tear at the corner of her sweet, sad eye, shining like a flickering star.
He immediately fell in love and, forgetful of his labour, went to speak with her.

"I have been wandering in the Land of the Blind," he told her, "my eyes beset by false forms and colours. But seeing you I see clearly at last and will never worship Beauty again. She is naive and superficial, whereas you are possessed of a true inner pulchritude that has captured and enslaved me. You must consent to be my bride."

Sorrow looked at him in a downcast manner but she was not altogether displeased and two weeks later the two were wed and thereafter were often to be seen together searching the meadows and hedgerows for evidence of mighty Death's passing and the ruination of mortal things.

Poor Beauty was distraught.
So distraught in fact, that fine white threads of silver began to appear in her beautiful golden hair so that the moon looked down at her and wondered. Tiny creases and wrinkles appeared beneath her eyes and on her brow and slowly, slowly, she became used to the gentle caress of accumulating hours and days upon her flesh and the blossoming of innocence into experience.

Eventually, one day, her thoughts turned to Decay and it came to her that perhaps he was not such a bad fellow after all, with his soft, gentle voice like falling leaves on autumn winds.
To cut matters short, after a long engagement, they were finally married.

Decay was ecstatic. Beauty was relatively content.
Needless to say, neither Youth or Sorrow were invited to the wedding - but Sorrow came anyway, a tiny silver tear at the corner of her eye shining like a silver star.
Weddings always made her cry (as did most things).

Youth was not in the least put out by not being invited - it was Cup Final weekend (Forest Elves V. Glasgow Goblins) and he had a couple of mates around, each armed with a six-pack.
Of course, were this fiction, Youth would have married Beauty, whilst Decay would have met and successfully wooed Sorrow but alas - I am merely a reporter, not a novelist! As to whether either couple were 'Happy Ever after', I am not in possession of the full facts and so decline to comment.

In due course of time Youth and Sorrow had a son, Patience, a stooped and somewhat foppish fellow by all accounts, whilst Beauty bore Decay a beautiful daughter, whom they named Wisdom.

Footnote to the Afterword.
When they grew up Patience fell in love with Wisdom but she would have none of it. Indeed, she scandelised all of Tir na n'Og by taking up with Death, who, by being Immortal and more-or-less coeval with Creation itself, was somewhat older than her.
They eloped amidst much hullabaloo and honeymooned for seven weeks in sunken Atlantis, during which time not a single creature, from the lowliest amoeba up to the elephant and sperm-whale, perished or even caught so much as a cold. Things on earth were getting pretty crowded in fact.
Patience, somewhat against his nature, got rip-roaring drunk on moss-elixer, smashed up several leprechauns's toad-stool maisonettes and a scale model of Toad Hall. When he finally recovered he was so shame-faced and mortified he took a job in the National Census Office which he kept for the rest of his life.
He remained a bachelor. Ed.


Persimmon in the Golden Woods

Persimmon in the Golden Woods
how happy the birds are to see you
listen to their song!
The pine trees release their very best fragrance for you
dropping exquisite little cones to fall at your feet
perfect in every detail
the ferns put on their best green coats
the squirrels stop their constant hunting after and burying of nuts
to scamper after you where you pass
calling to their mates high up in the trees
that Persimmon has come.

The golden leaved deciduous trees cast their leaves at your feet
lest you linger too long amidst the firs and pines.
You are my little girl but everyone wants to love you
- the sundew in the sleepy glade
the white owl dreaming in his tree
the fauns and naiads at the Old Woods heart
playing on their flutes and making garlands
to place around your neck.
The spider has woven his very best web
and waits for your inspection
the frog sits on his lily-pad eager to jump to attention
bumblebees and dragonflies
fill the air with song and colour
crickets chatter excitedly
Persimmon is comimg
Persimmon is coming
... soon she will be here!

And I am coming too.
Watching from the window of my house
I saw her skipping through the fields and followed her
through the green and golden trees
and into the heart of the Woods...
now her secret is out
- but I'm not going to gossip.
This enchantment is not for everyone
only the lovers of high and marvellous beauty.

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