Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From the Balcony

©  Steve King
All rights reserved


Through all seasons,
peering outward from the high window,
he would watch the boats.

On they came
through clinging fog,
curtains of rain,
breaking through the crowning sun,
and out of deepest night,
with horns, lights
and strange dancing nautic grace,
gliding beneath sheltering stars
emerging to his view
as if the stirrings of dream.

Familiar constellations shown upon them all.
Only the moon would change its face,
although he knew it dragged the stubborn tides
in some promise of larger constancy.
Unchanging stars alone made perfect sense.


The manservant brought wines
appropriate for every season.
They drank to the hours,
and to the stars,
and for fair seas and warming winds
to usher every pilgrim home;
and to the dreams of coming ships,
and to great beauty as it once had been.


‘She’ll know me, even now,’ he said.
I have the pictures yet.’

‘And you have the letters.’

‘Yes, musn’t forget.’

‘The letters.’

‘You have them safe…’

‘I have them.’

‘Yes, most; but there are still a few…’


The sea changed every night,
the color and the call,
the mass of harbored boats
strung with lights
that traced a captive swell.

‘Shall I turn on the light?’

‘Easier to look out through the dark. 
I can see the farthest reach that way.
I will know her when she comes…’

He paused to dispel a nearing cloud.

‘…and she will need no beacon.’


And so the many seasons went,
and many servants in their turns,
and endless boats and sheltering stars
reflected in the slipping tides.

And staring far through forgiving dark
to feel good seas and take fair wind,
he waited on a gentle dream
now grown ever close at hand.

And in the measure of his dream
he held a gaze so patiently,
to linger long on beauty lost,
someday to find his shore again.

Abiding without place or end,
great beauty as it once had been.


  1. Once more a story weaved in a verse tale
    Such letters sound as if they will set sail
    And the lose and gain
    Will come like rain.

  2. oh you dance the heart strings well...waiting on a love to return, perhpas even well beyond belief...i love the imagery of the stars and that is a time that calls to my soul deeply...

  3. this is beautifully done...the hoping, the knowing, the waiting...patience at its best and for him surely more than a dream..

  4. The longing, the hoping .... Just beautiful !

  5. A lovely heart melted. I like your descriptions of the sea and the hope and the waiting. I hope he finds the shore again.

  6. I write few longer poems because it's hard for me to keep up the focus and energy, but you did a great job of involving me from the start and holding my heart's ears until the end. A very nice expression of self in a non-boring way.

  7. This is lovely and melancholy, Steve. it feels like a dirge for a life lost, given up to waiting for a dream.

  8. As I read you poem, I heard the soft, distant, waiting Menemsha bells on the shores...through a fog of longing and waiting...beautifully done, Steve!

  9. The mood here is softly lulling, yet the sentiments are piercing in their quiet way, watching the inconstant moon, the changing tides, the roll of change itself always sweeping, yet holding untouched a dream ;as once it was...' sad, wistful, beautiful. Sometimes fantasy makes reality shatter, and become a meaningless jumble underfoot. Greatly enjoyed this one, Steve.

  10. Steve... a great story line and very lyrical verse and flowing easiness. I love that line "only the moon would change it's face although he knew it dragged the stubborn tides".... now and then, comes a line that you wish you had written yourself! and that is one!!!