Poetry

The Ballad of Heart Beat

By: H.L. Dowless

Today the woman in white will walk out to Heart Heat bridge.
Nobody anywhere knows her true name
or what she is intending to do by sauntering out to the edge.
Is she searching for a long lost ghost?
Does some yet to be known fortune in the French Broad River float?
Why does she come down here from way out on Harper’s Ridge?

The elders all say they once knew her well,
and it is from them where I have her story to tell.
They say she had a vivid imagination, often fantasizing she was a snow white dove,
but then the day came when she finally found her true love.
So she walked down looking for him from Harper’s Ridge,
meeting him out on the cedar planks of Heart Beat bridge.

At the time she was maybe eighteen.
In the art of love she was still yet unsoiled
and painfully green.
His name was Adam and he came from the mountain, Belle.
When he was in her company, Lord, he spoke elegantly
so they tell.
He hailed from the Hester family, and the valley of White’s Lay.
But he would walk a Texas mile to meet with beautiful Emola’.

The families of Hog Waller and White’ Lay
in those days were at war.
They had been feuding so long everybody had forgotten what they were fighting for.
Marriage was forbidden between the Hester Clan
and anybody from over in White’s Lay,
so Adam walked a Texas mile to meet with sweet Emola’.
To him she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
In the art of love delicate Emola’ was so wild
and painfully green.

Her Papa became apprehensive when young Emola’ was missing.
He kept on searching because he had a sneaking suspicion.
He eased through the woods one misty morning from Hog Waller
up on Harper Ridge,
pausing in the distant treeline while gazing out at Heart Beat bridge.
He watched her embrace her love on that old wood planked span.
He so bitterly resented this disgustingly insolent attitude of the Hester clan.

Papa consulted his two eldest sons,
and they came up with a plan.
They all noticed recurring patterns when Emola’ walked out to the old cedar span.
It was way back when,
early on Wassail Day they all cloaked themselves in sheets and snow masks,
an honest effort to preserve ancient cherished blood demanded the task.
So the Hester Clan sauntered along in the shadowy mist
toward Heart Beat bridge,
when young Adam walked a Texas mile down from old Belle Ridge.

From inside the shadows they abruptly lurched,
beating him up so bad.
All of them joked around,
saying as they did so,
sweet Emola’ was surely the best this poor bastard ever had.
They picked his limp body up and tossed it over the edge,
he tumbled a quarter mile down into the Locust hedge.

Now the tender heart is broken of Sweet Emola’,
she lost her true love forever way back when on Wassail day.
So she leaped over the edge of that two hundred year old cedar span,
and she’ll never ever come back to Hog Waller again.

Her delicate ghost still returns,
searching to this very day.
It first gazes upward toward the acorn blanketed valley of White’s Lay,
when she pauses out in the midst of Heart Beat bridge,
the community center point of old Harper Ridge.
On the morning wind her haunting message is still the same,
she is destined for all the ages to keep on investigating,
since for this terrible incident she was the one to blame.

Categories: Poetry

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