A charming pair of lovers they were-
The lad dreamy yet dashing,
The lass pretty and fair;
He was a poet, she was his Muse,
Five summers, entwined by the vines of love,
Their hearts beat as one.
But one day, he noticed
His beloved’s face was downcast,
A lily drooping in the hot sun,
He thought with a pang.
“Darling, what’s wrong?” he cried,
And lifted her chin with a tender hand.
Oh, what unfathomable mysteries
Rippled in the still, dark pools
Of her limpid eyes!
Much coaxing and pleading after,
She unburdened the load
Of her care-laden heart,
And his face turned wan.
Her parents had found for her a match,
A most suitable boy, she said,
A bloated money-bag he was,
Ah! There lay the catch-
For he, her lover, was but a poor poet.
“But sweetheart, you love me,
You couldn’t desert me!”
The anguished cry of the lad
Rent the air, silenced the birds.
“On love alone you can’t survive,”
Was her cool reply.
“Love can’t feed or clothe
Or give a good life-
A mansion with a garden,
Cars and servants besides,
Gowns of silk and diamond necklaces,
Say, can love provide these?”
“Poverty and love are strange bed-fellows,”
She reasoned further,
As the boy stood dumbstruck,
“Love wilts in the face of adversity,
Turns stale with prolonged penury;
You see, the stream of love runs dry
In the terrain of harsh reality.”
“Money isn’t everything either,”
He countered, his eyes flashing,
“It can build a palace but not a home;
And though in pursuit of joy,
Far and wide you may roam,
It can buy you only comforts, not happiness,
Platters of good food but not good health,
Gift you with flatterers but not true friends.
Tell me, can all the wealth on earth
Guarantee calm and peace of mind?”
But she only sighed and tossed her head,
“Spoken truly like the idle dreamer
That you are, and now I’m afraid,
It’s goodbye forever….”
A fortnight later, it was her wedding day,
Dancing and feasting, all looked gay;
Bedecked with jewels and flowers
And wearing a radiant smile,
Her beauty could put Venus herself to shame.
The groom arrived, he held her hand,
And soon they were man and wife.
That night, demure and coy,
And trembling like an aspen leaf
On a windy day,
She entered the bridal chamber
Where he sat waiting.
But his forehead was fraught with worry,
And before she could speak a word,
He said in a rush: “Darling, I’m sorry,
But I thought you should know,
Since this beauteous day we swore
To partake of mirth and sorrow-
The stocks have crashed, my accounts frozen,
And now I’ll have to start from scratch;
But don’t you worry dear,
They say love that starts with struggle
Endures till the last, have no fear.”
Whether love did indeed double
In hardship, he never came to know,
For she swooned, entangled in the rubble
Of a thousand shattered dreams.
But Fate had more in store for her,
For the next day, on opening the newspaper,
Her former lover’s face smirked at her,
Under a headline that screamed:
“YOUNG POET WINS MILLION-DOLLAR AWARD”