The Bower

(c) Falmouth Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Falmouth Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


Sing softly, from within the bower

Weave a tapestry of sparkling themes

See reflected the fabled tower

Sigh, for the loss of dreams


There is no life beyond this place

Sing softly, from within the bower

Time drifts in this ensorcelled space

Sing softly, now and for each hour


Inhale the scent of morning flower

Watch horsemen ride and lovers kiss

Sing softly, from within the bower

Weave the story, unknown bliss


She knows one day the curse will fall

When mirror shatters in a shower

Her soul will float beyond the wall

But now, sing softly in the bower


I’m still channeling Victorians. A not-quite quatern—the syllable counts vary.  For some reason, I was thinking about the “Lady of Shalott” at 3 A.M a few mornings ago. The words “tower” and “bower” were in my head. Here is Tennyson’s poem, if you don’t know it.

Here is Lorena McKennittt’s lovely sung version.






24 thoughts on “The Bower

  1. It has its joyful moments, along with the sadness of the possible shattering of dreams and reality, (death) will occur. This was well written, Merril. I feel the emotions and foreboding sense of doom in this. Smiles, Robin

  2. I like what you have written but I don’t like the person you have painted a portrait of. I want to give her a shake. Having said that, what beautiful images you bring up. The mirror one particularly struck me because it was hard and splintery and so much of the rest of the poem is soft.

    • Thanks so much, Claudia. I hadn’t thought of the contrast as hard and soft. Interesting point, you’re right. As far as the woman, I know exactly what you mean. It’s the Sleeping Beauty thing–the passive female beauty–which goes against all my feminist thinking. Yet, I’m still drawn to it. I like to think that she was there enchanted and couldn’t move until the curse allowed her to leave (and die). Yikes–maybe that’s worse. 😉

  3. Only you (possibly me) would wake up at 3:00 am thinking of The Lady of Shalott. Reading the poem again I am struck by all the color imagery.

    Your eye injury has not deprived you of good insight. 😊

    • Thanks, Marian! I guess it is an odd thing to wake up thinking about. I also reread the poem. I suppose that type of poetry fell out of favor for a while, but the language really is beautiful. I also love McKennitt’s musical version.

  4. Pingback: Captive | Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

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