Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

 Spring  2011
Volume 8, Number 2



The Troubadour's Song

By Kerry Elizabeth Thompson

 From the South the Summer brings a star
That sings within my soul, blithe as a bird,
Lifting the light of her loveliness through the dark
That lay unknown and heavy on my heart;
Until her smile awoke the driving thirst
To find a haven in her love's deep harbor.

Unpolluted and boundless is that harbor,
Where burns the crystal fountain of a star,
At whose flowing love I'll slake the thirst
Of one long pent in sorrow, like a bird
With beating, bloodied wings that bursts its heart
And, with its failing sight, sees only dark

Beyond the close-set bars; till, through the dark,
A lighted way falls open to a harbor.
And then he sees, the light beats from a heart,
Whose gentle love-pulse beacons like a star
To which, unerring, constant as a bird
He flies, till in the light, he drowns his thirst.

Ever drowning, never sated is that thirst
For love's sweet flowing light that turns the dark
Into a vaulted rainbow, where a bird
Sings, calm and joyful, come at last to harbor,
Warm and sweet as kisses of a star
That fall as soft as sea-foam on the heart.

And what long sorrow could defend a heart
From the gentle importuning of such thirst,
By drinking deep, that can renew a star
Reclaim it, soul and body, from the dark
And bring both star and gazer to safe harbor -
There to nestle softly as a bird

That's found her mate. Then happy sings that bird,
For having, though two bodies, but one heart,
Since each in other finds a tranquil harbor
And endless drink to slake their starless thirst.
Till, from the dark, their love returns to dark,
Unfearing, in the shadow of a star.

And so, my star, come to, and be, my harbor
With heart enclosed and closing from the dark,
And drink, sweet bird, to quench my aching thirst.

The Lady's Song

By Kerry Elizabeth Thompson

My timid, restless soul sings in the dark
The while it seeks a sure, protecting harbor
Where drinking deep at fountains of a star
At last it will relieve its deepest thirst
And close its wings within the sheltering heart
That guides and guards it homeward like a bird.

Traversing pathless night, sure as a bird,
Undaunted by the markless, changeless dark,
My soul holds true and singing toward that heart
Whose lode-song guides it safe into the harbor,
Clear and deep, the end of all our thirst,
At last to taste the pulse beat of a star.

For long my soul has sought that blazing star,
Tremulous and certain as a bird
That follows, swift, the call of love's long thirst
Until at last it soars above the dark
And there, beyond despair or hope, it finds its harbor
To rest forever safe in one true heart.

But what avails the anguish of a heart
Before the blazing blindness of a star
For such a light can guide it to no harbor
But dazzle it, bewilder like a bird
Who seeking for its mate, lost in the dark,
Can find no song to slake its soul's long thirst

Until, despairing, driven by long thirst,
It plunges back upon its bleeding heart
And groping, listless, aimless in the dark
Finds in its hand a living, throbbing star
And flutters tremulous as if a bird,
Long tossed by storms, should find a sunlit harbor

And riding gentle waves safe in the harbor
Should find them sweet to slake an unthought thirst
With love that, singing, soars up like a bird
To welcome from long exile home a heart
That, following love's instinct, found the star
That evermore would shield it from the dark.

So, safe within my harbor like a bird
I'll nestle in the dark of my love-star
Whose quenching fans my thirst for your sweet heart.

Kerry Elizabeth Thompson is a writer and amateur web designer. She has been legally blind and physically disabled since a medical accident in 1970, when she was six. Largely home schooled, she briefly attended a secondary school for blind girls while living in England in the early ‘80s. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, Massachusetts and an M.A. in Medieval Literature from the University of Connecticut.

A longtime member of the National Federation of the Blind Writers Division, Miss Thompson has had poetry, fiction and nonfiction published in the Division’s magazine, Slate and Style, as well as in other small press periodicals and anthologies. Her interests include Catholic Theology and Hagiography (the lives of the saints), Space Science and songwriting. She writes on a Windows XP system using Word 2000 and Window-eyes 7. She lives in Springfield, Massachusetts with her family, which includes nine rescued cats.

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