Ballad of a Summer Love
She’d summer, back in ’64,
Beside the Knights of Labor’s
Old clubhouse on the facing shore—
So we were almost neighbors,
And every night I’d swim the lake
Like Hero’s own Leander.
I’d brave the aquarattlesnake,
The gar and salamander
While she’d sit watch upon the pier
In hopes I would appear. Oh,
She staged such Triumphs for me here—
And yet she was the hero:
The hero of the siege of hearts,
The Chevalier Romantic.
While I dog-paddled round these parts
She swam the damned Atlantic;
Like Beowulf, a sword in hand,
Dread monsters from the trenches
She fought at sea. I fought on land
The eyes of tavern wenches.
She was the first, the very first
To beg the angel’s pardon,
To slake the serpent’s unknown thirst
And drive us from the garden.
The angel said, “Strap on some leaves
To show what you’ve been learning.”
Instead she buckled on her greaves,
And next thing Troy was burning.
The battle ax and mercy knife
She never left behind her.
I waved goodbye. The kind of life
I’d never know—would find her.