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The Underliving
Priscilla Hernandez

You are in the Fairy & Fantasy Poems Section

Will o the Wisp - John Bliven Morin2009©Hawaii USA

The cypress of the swamp grow tall,
garlanded in gray moss they stand;
surrounded by their jutting knees
that rise up from the marsh and sand.

In the hours tween dusk and dawn,
when the wind blows cool and crisp
in the distance, not far, flash
the lights called will o the wisp

The eerie lights go dancing, moving,
flickering, flashing in the dark;
beckoning, teasing, come-to-me;
who or what applies the spark?

The quarter moon was rising slowly
Over dark’ning bog and fen
Jem had to find the will o’ the wisp
If it took an hour or ten.

Hoke, help me push the pram;
Get in and paddle here with me;
let’s find out for ourselves just what
that flickering thing can be.

I ll go, but Cousin Jem I find
that faraway flashing fright’ning
It reminds of a stormy night
and the distant glow of lightning!

Don t be a coward, Hoke.
I know your heart is strong;
pick up your paddle, cousin, row!
I know this can t be wrong.

I see only darkness, Jem,
the lights have disappeared;
please, I beg you turn back now,
those lights are strange and weird.

Hoke, there it is again!
The lights are over there…
No wait, they’ve gone away again,
I can t see them anywhere.

There s the flash, row harder Hoke!
They re moving further on;
We’ve got to catch them if we can…
Durn! again they re gone!

Come-to-me, they say, see?
they re only just ahead. Ignore
the near deep throated, bellowing
of the old bull gator’s roar,

Ignore the splash and croaking
in the darkness of the frog
as he seeks a long-lost lover
o’er the quicksand of the bog.

Now minutes pass; the lights have gone,
they search the swamp in vain;
Without the lights to guide them,
Might as well head home again.

Which way, Hoke, did we come?
From there, by the fallen tree,
or past the cypress to the right;
It looks the same to me.

No, the current’s turned us round,
We came from over there,
where the owl sits on the cypress knee…
Maybe not, but where?

Back at the fishing camp at dawn,
A family searched for their two boys;
The Sheriffs in their motor boat
Found nothing but their motor s noise.

The years have passed, the family grieves,
For the loss of Hoke and Jem;
Maybe they found the will o’ the wisp,
Or maybe it found them!

Copyright (C) 2009 by John Bliven Morin

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