A child’s memory

She stood alone among the trees
a woman formed ripe with life,
a perfect beautiful figure
alone and naked in the light.
With confused mind I watched her
while peering through the leaves,
blushing at the vernal scene,
her auburn hair dancing in the breeze.
I could not find air to breath,
my lungs suffocated with my guilt,
yet hidden I viewed her mesmerized,
shuddering with the disgrace I felt.
She stepped into a placid stream,
a bare ripple on the watery plane,
slowly swimming from my sight,
disappearing among river cane.
As if the moment was yesterday
I still smell wild flower’s bloom,
I hear the tinkling water flow,
and the call of a lonely loon.
Fifty-six years have passed me by,
the spot grown over where I stood,
yet an adolescent emotion haunts me,
shamed by a vigil in the silent wood.

©2011, Donald Harbour

To believe in mermaids

the old swimming hole
is a secretive place
especially under a full moon
the water of the creek
simmers in the lunar light
casting images of magic
across a watery tableau
she came here on those nights
to swim and cleanse her soul
slipping out of her clothes
she stood like a goddess
Athena, Aphrodite, Venus,
a glowing perfectly formed woman
when she let down her hair
it fell in an auburn cascade
against her white skin
accenting her fairness
she plunged into the stillness
her body slicing the surface
no tidal waves were created
a tiny ripple lapped at the bank
she did not come up for air
she had no need for air
upon entering the water
she was changed became different
if one were to ask a knowing person
what had happened to her
they would say, she has become
a mermaid as she always has been
say that she could speak to fish
teach birds to sing and bees to hum
they would say that wolves and bears
watched over her at night
that creatures longed to be graced
by the warmth of her smile
by the gentle touch of her hand
they would say the water gave her life
a rebirth replenishing her being
this must have been true
for in the morning her clothes
were gone from the swimming hole
and she was back among us
auburn hair glistening
her skin pulsating with a faint blush
scented with magnolia blossoms
what one believes is not necessarily truth
but it is enough to believe
though I knew her in love
others did not so they simply believed
in the magic of the old swimming hole
in the mystery of this woman
to them it was enough
to believe in a mermaid

© 2010, Donald Harbour