Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
A PROMISE OF THE HEART
My first love was a pretty girl
with golden hair and skin of pearl.
We thought our meeting one of chance,
our senses caught in that first glance,
and watched our love unfurl.
Our lives entwined at dizzying rate,
as if our love was set by fate,
and none were taken by surprise
when talk of marriage did arise
and soon we’d set a date.
The engagement ring I slipped upon her hand
was an expensive golden band
topped in the centre with a ruby, sullen red
as if from some heart it had been fed
to suit the love she did demand.
For though gentle in her looks so fair
a passion dwelt far under there.
A will of iron and mood to match,
and though she was indeed a catch,
I often wondered at her stare.
For day by day I saw her look
at that ring, the time she took,
and then glance at me as if to say
“I’ve caught you now, you can’t get away”
like a fish, pierced upon on a hook.
And then one night as we lay in bed
In a simple monotone she’d said,
“Promise me your heart forever
that on this ring, not even death will sever
the love that holds us in its stead.”
At this her hand had gripped mine tight
as if to bind me to my words that night,
and laughing, I’d repeated them
addressing that dark and solemn gem,
‘fore sleep had stole my sight.
A month before the wedding day,
she fell ill, and wasted fast away.
I sat beside her bed and wept,
as my love, adrift in illness, slept
but could no longer stay.
I held her hand as she passed on,
until the light in her eyes had gone.
and wiping back a final tear
I promised all those who stood near
she would be the only one.
Before her death, to all she’d stressed
she wished in her bridal gown be dressed,
and so buried in silken white
as if a princess waiting for her knight
laying peaceful at her rest.
Admiring her serene face,
her head rounded by her veil of lace
I looked down to where her hands they lay,
and following her final say,
the ruby ring took pride of place.
Love, however, will have its sport,
and turned my promise into naught.
So it was I loved once more
a girl whose charms I did adore,
for time is long, and memory short.
Her beauty was not marred
by a nature dark and hard
instead her mood was light,
her eyes both kind and bright
and she healed a heart once scarred.
Happy times with her had led,
to me thinking things long since fled,
of a future spent just her and me,
and I knew she’d eagerly agree.
So made my mind that we should wed.
But on the day that I proposed,
dreams of my first love now deposed
began to fill my every night
with visions wove of sickly fright,
of her displeasure now disclosed.
Asleep, I’d dream of a graveyard’s gloom,
and me, in the trappings of a groom.
Thus dressed, I’d hear a happy cheer
coming from a church door near
and walk in, to some unknown doom.
A church aisle stretched far ahead,
each row populated with the dead,
and whilst the organ wailed within
they threw confetti of corpses skin
as I stumbled to my love to wed.
They looked at me with empty eyes,
their sockets round and black inside,
A need to flee, to simply run,
but my steps would only lead me on,
until I stood beside the bride.
A vice like grip would take my hand,
and there in frozen terror stand.
My bride would then turn her head,
a worm riddled mockery of she now dead,
my first love’s wedding now at hand.
Every night the self same dream
’til my sanity now stretched the seam
and every night I saw it clear
the thing that she had held most dear,
the ring and its ruddy gleam.
Maybe I was mad by now
but I knew the dreams had showed me how
to finally free myself from she
whose spirit would not let me be,
and so I made a vow.
Only the Moon saw me leave
at midnight on my wedding eve
to the graveyard, to where she lay,
to dig at all that miserable clay
and from her hand that ring to cleave!
I no longer wondered if I should,
only knowing that I would.
So gripped with anger and nascent fear
I hunted she I once held dear,
until the spade struck wood.
I clambered in that hellish hole,
and looked upon my wretched goal,
all to claim back that cur-sed ring
and end the nightmares of that…thing
that stalked my dreams and wracked my soul.
And then, as if in part the devil’s jest
the hallowed silence was unseemly blessed
by the maddening calling of my phone,
that incessant, demanding drone,
and to my head the phone I pressed.
My new fiancee’s voice filled my ear,
her voice too fresh and crystal clear
to be heard in such an awful place
amongst this deathly quiet race,
but still I stopped to hear.
She gushed about a gift she’d found,
left on her bed and simply bound.
From me she’d known it must have come,
for its beauty had near struck her dumb:
a golden ring with ruby round.
What words I said I do not know,
mind gone blank and thoughts gone slow.
A single, dreadful thought was left
and with that spade the lid I heft.
To see what horror was below.
There she lay in rotting glory,
her nails and hair grown long and hoary.
A Cinderella bound in death
whose stench, not looks, now took ones breath.
A bride in some horrific story.
She wore a torn and mildewed gown,
of mottled green and rancid brown;
her flesh and skin picked clean
by time and morbid things obscene,
bearing swollen maggots for a crown.
With wild eyes I cast around
within the casket and surrounding ground,
but no ring I saw in that horrid place,
just a rictus grin on that mocking face,
‘til I heard a shallow, beating sound.
I followed the noise to whence it came,
real or not, it meant the same.
The odd sound that my attention caught,
was not the thing that I had sought,
and then I saw the source of blame.
The sight was of no wedding band
but in seeing I knew myself full damned.
For in that grisly meeting,
I saw my own heart beating,
grasped tightly in her bony hand!
Now here I sit in broken dread
in the grave of one thought long since dead.
To her, a promise made on my heart,
was an oath from which she would not part,
and from me now has all hope fled.
For around the grave stand figures tall
spades held in bony hands of all.
A burial party just for me
and my first love for eternity,
and on me clumps of dirt now fall.
I shall write these words and place them near
whilst time is left, I’ll state it clear.
Make no promises you cannot keep
for in truth the dead, they do not sleep,
and a broken word is much to fear.
The author has also uploaded a spoken version of this pasta, viewable here:
A Promise of the Heart
If the embed does not work for you, please click the link to view the video on its YouTube page.
Credit To – Charmingly Shallow