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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2011 - Vol. 8, Issue 2

"The Troubadour's Song" and "The Lady's Song"

written by

Kerry Elizabeth Thompson

"The Troubadour's Song"


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"


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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