by Jonas Hyde
Oh life, my life, this is my sorrow,
oh death, my death, can you offer me no pity?
If only I were more guile or more witty,
I would surely wake in the ‘morrow.
At the start I fell to Tempter’s ploy,
and in the while since have truly lost it all.
Fact it hurts, so my tale I’d rather not recall,
for my life, the Tempter did destroy.
Tho’ ‘fore I cause my end, let me start,
because the story of my folly must be told.
Little did I know my happiness would be sold,
since what I had sought, was of true heart.
But even desires born of good,
can sire for eternity, lasting torment.
And the lessons since learned I presently lament,
are choices I’d rescind if I could.
My story starts nearly a year past,
on a night ravaged by tempest of wind and snow.
My love and I were alone, warmed by the soft glow,
of a fire that would shortly last.
Together we lived for many years,
with barren poverty our only excess.
But the bounty of our life was in love’s express,
which always seemed to delay our tears.
‘Twas then when a knock came ‘pon our door,
a rarity so true regardless of season.
I answered with caution, and wondered the reason,
this oddity I could not ignore.
‘Fore me stood a man with rabbit’s meat,
cowering beneath the storm that ravaged the land.
He begged for shelter as he placed the meat in hand,
then again his plea he did repeat.
As a righteous man, I let him in,
and my love rushed over to take his weathered coat.
Little did I know as he turned to clear his throat,
that welcoming him was my first sin.
He gave us his name with a smile,
and very quickly my love and I felt at ease.
Then he offered a sack of wine and pound of cheese,
if we would let him stay awhile.
Happy we were to accept his deal,
and quickly my wife went to start the rabbit stew.
Treasures such as these for us were long overdue,
so we ignored how it seemed unreal.
The night passed as the man spoke with charm,
captivating us with mirth, he we did befriend.
His offerings never seemed to come to an end,
and the long hours passed without harm.
In time he asked why we had no tyke,
a subject always sore for both my love and I.
It never happened, no matter how we would try,
tho’ it was a wish, each and alike.
What happened next should have tipped me off,
to the truth that lay hidden behind the man’s veil.
For with his words, my love shied away and turned pale,
as I responded with but a scoff.
So what were these words you likely ask,
that knotted our pleasant eve in such a way?
“If with your lovely wife I can touch, taste, and lay,
then with a child you may both bask.”
Before I could respond to the man,
he added as he continued to carry on.
“And if you give me your answer prior to dawn,
offer you a regal life I can.”
The man then sat so silent and still,
as my love and I both tried hard to comprehend.
Tho’ the gall of this words stung, we could not pretend,
our hopes and dreams they did fulfill.
Now before you judge, let it be known,
that at least it is the truth I give here to you.
Easily I could offer deceit or construe,
lies in which I would need not atone.
But desperate were we for such wealth,
which would include child, title, and even land.
I looked at my love long as she took my ain hand,
should not life offer more than just health?
For a while, no one made a sound,
and the man could tell we were pondering his deal.
It was then the price in return he did reveal,
the words that did even more astound.
“The only catch, if you could call it,
is a cost you will likely ne’er even see.
To be sure, it is more like a gift than a fee,
and is an offer I can commit.
“The child always and e’ermore,
will be within his parent’s arms, nurtured and loved.
A son I will promise, and by all beloved,
and for want you shall feel ne’ermore.”
‘Twas an offer we could not refuse,
that which he presented us ‘pon that stormy eve.
Tho’ you may think my love and I to be naïve,
we felt that we had nothing to lose.
So my love stood as she turned away,
and our grasp broke as she walked toward our bed.
The man rose next with a wicked grin ‘pon his head,
and in with my wife he went to play.
For hours I sat, listened and cried,
to the sounds of my love, resonating throughout.
It did not take long before she started to shout,
and with her pleasure my soul then died.
I fell asleep alone in my chair,
and awoke hours later to a silent still.
With the fire now out, our home had a chill,
which matched my ain feeling of despair.
I went to check on my sleeping wife,
and found her too alone with a sheet ‘pon her skin.
She rested like a seraph, much to my chagrin,
e’er changing our coming life.
She then woke as if all were a dream,
yet we both could still smell the man’s scent upon her.
We knew then things would ne’er be as they once were,
no matter how we might act or seem.
Tho’, we entered this curse together,
and so I reminded her swiftly of just that.
Then I kissed her soft cheek as I placed on my hat,
and set myself for the cold weather.
For I knew I had to get away,
due to the sullen feelings forging my despair.
But I had to be cautious and offer more care,
else our joined love would e’er stray.
Howe’er, after a night as last,
I needed some time to let the memory fade.
I wondered how I fell for the promises he made,
for I ne’er had in my life’s past.
But my anguish and pain then left me,
faster than it had come, as I first stepped outside.
Because there on our battered step, I quickly eyed,
fulfillment of pledge, at least partly.
A large basket sat, full to its brim,
packed with more food than I could e’er envision.
Just then, I did not regret our decision,
and our future seemed not as grim.
From there and every day after,
life for us both seemed to get better and better.
We then received by delivery of letter,
something that drew out our laughter.
It seemed that an error had been found,
and that my name and blood were of noble birthright.
As payment to us to forgive such oversight,
a Duke I was then titled and crowned.
But perhaps the greatest news of all,
came ‘pon the day we learned my wife was with child.
By cause of our newfound bounty we smiled,
but this was the calm ‘fore our fall.
For one month then swiftly turned to nine,
and with our new riches we thought we had won.
When finally it was time to have our son,
it seemed all had come to us by design.
But with that eve light ne’er returned,
as darkness fore’er more engulfed our lives.
It was then I learned how life truly deprives,
when fortune is given ‘stead of earned.
My love died that eve, passing in birth,
and in that flash I felt all was lost e’ermore.
The woman in my life who I would most adore,
was traded for what we thought had worth.
In my arms was our son, my tot,
who would ne’er have the chance to meet his mother.
The stranger’s gifts came filled one after another,
but the cost was much more than thought.
As sorrowful as my story is,
I regret to say that it does not yet end here.
For even though I had just lost my love, my dear,
the man came for what he claimed was his.
On the morn I placed my wife to rest,
the stranger from that forgotten eve came to me.
It was then he said something I did not foresee,
words I tried to argue and protest.
“With mother gone this child is mine,
and there is nothing you will be able to do.
It was the deal in detail that you agreed to,
when you let me taste your wife so fine.”
His demeanor was strange and stunning,
nothing like the man I remembered him to be.
I tried then to offer my dispute by decree,
but realized swiftly I was conned by his cunning.
For as if spoken for the first time,
his words and that evening replayed in my head.
The child was to stay with the parents he said,
and giving him my wife was my crime.
With that he took the child away,
the last remnant of my wife’s visage the boy was.
Then he turned and did what the Tempter always does,
as if living a wicked cliché.
“And now since the child will be gone,
it saddens me to let you know,” he said so wry.
“It seems your title was given to the wrong guy,
and as such it must now be withdrawn.”
With that he left, ne’er to be found,
leaving me to pick up the pieces of life lost.
I had ne’er realized what his deal would cost,
and now my choices shall e’er hound.
My love and I fell to Tempter’s trick,
and as I said ‘pon the start, my end is now nigh.
So with these words I offer my final goodbye,
for I drank a brew that made me sick.
So life, my life, this was my sorrow,
and death, my death, please do not offer me pity.
If only we had been more guile or witty,
Love and I would be here tomorrow.