The ship's log read 'three years afloat', though
barnacled from Neptune's test,
Escaping reefs near lands remote, embraced
Japan, she'd done her best.
Anchored in the balmy breeze, tattered sails
furled near the shore,
Gone the wind-chilled, angry seas, labyrinthian
waters touched Earth's core.
The weary sailor stepped ashore, noisy seagulls
Soon to give his dreams a hand, steaming bath
and clean, white bed.
Shaving his seafarer's beard, memories began to
Journey perils no more feared, he had returned
to find his lover.
Taken sick in port one year, dying in a dim
Doctors said his end was near, and yet a geisha
made him well.
Left for dead by shipmates all, the mighty clipper
sailed that dawn.
Delirium-shrouded cast-off-call, he heard it not,
the ship had gone.
Through frenzied fever he could see spectral moon-
light swim 'n swirl;
Scurvy scabs, frightful sores, bathed gently by the
Her echoed voice was his reprieve, as getas clicked
upon the stones;
Drizzle-rain had filled the eve, seeping deep into
Porcelain hands soothed sweated brow, but not
for her he would have died;
The sailor made a solemn vow, Death's Angel's plan
had been denied.
New found strength with rising sun, he asked what
price would set her free;
T'wd take a treasure to be done; to get the gold
he went to sea.
Three long years to earn the cost, he'd labored hard,
he had the price.
Now returned to find her lost ... he had not seen
Brain afire and gold in hand, his search became a
It didn't go as he had planned, no place that painted
face of white.
He checked the cages through grey dawn, in
Yoshiwara's shadowed space,
But friends all said that she had gone, for
sometime now, into disgrace.
She had been ill and of no use, her sickness
caught from unclean men;
They smugly sneered and turned away, he heard
them whisper, "She was so thin."
A panic search, no face in sight, through alleys
dim 'n musty old;
At last - a hushed and umbral light, there lay
his Geisha, still and cold.
Beneath the steps that creaked 'n groaned, there
came a tiny, shattered breath;
"Sailor man come back," she moaned; his brocade
doll lay still, near death.
In sickened state she hid her face, but took
some water in small sips;
Cradled head on death-bed cot, he kissed her
burning, bleeding lips.
"I have the gold to set you free!" She shook her
head, what could she do?
Her medicine had raised the fee, one choice was
left, and they both knew.
Two silhouettes embraced that night, beneath
the owl's grey-hooded wing.
Nocturnal creature was their crown, the frosted
hush would be their spring.
Ivory seagulls soared in flight, caressed the
gentle moon so free;
Two souls departed that dark night ... a million
stars fell in the sea!
Dishonored still they would not yield, their saddened
lives had not been blessed;
In Yoshiwara's potter's field, the lovers' bodies
laid to rest.
Damp and humid, dismal earth; centuries passed, the
Moldy leaves untouched since birth, the sepulchers
Enoki trees with rotted stumps, mildewed soil on
Fearful worms that move grass clumps, midst it all
a ghastly sound.
Hollow winds sigh soft and low; poison mushrooms
Prompting wonder how they'd grown in depths
obscured from sunken eyes.
Symmetrical in ghostly gloom; surrounding the
Engraved the star-crossed lovers' tomb; dew fell
upon the lunar kiss.
No incense burns or flowers grow as velvet
skin caresses bones,
And in this place of lasting snow, the ears are
filled with distant moans.
Shy Courtesan with painted eyes, small butterfly
in silk brocade;
Beneath the chill her body lies ... the price
of freedom long been paid.
Dust settles on her glossy hair, crystal flesh
decays at last;
But ever yet so gentle, fair ... her sailor's arms
still hold her fast.
Contact Carole, visit Carole's Gallery, return to Carole's Poetry, her Book Page or Carole's tribute to sculptor Frank James Morgan
her Book Page or Carole's tribute to sculptor Frank James Morgan