The Willow’s Story
by Theodora Goss
The willow was once a bride, and dressed herself in white,
and veiled herself with laces, and blossoms filled her hair,
but her love he rode for London in the middle of the night,
galloping by the churchyard, and left her waiting there.
She wandered by the river, her eyes grown dull and wild,
her satin gown gone ragged, her white feet bruised and bare,
and never spoke nor halted, but went as thought beguiled
by fairer visions than appeared in common air.
She threw a bunch of posies her fingers did not hold,
she turned to lift a veil the wind would never stir,
and bowed and smiled, then danced about the rain-drenched wold
in invisible arms, and kissed someone not there.
At last, the story is told, they changed her into a tree,
they being whatever gods possess both pity and power,
so on she silently dances, according to decree,
with the wind for her bridegroom, and the perching birds her dower.
(The image is Woman Sitting Under the Willows by Claude Monet.)