The sound of hooves came through the trees
to the house of the lady in green
and she blew out her candle and sat quite still
and hoped that he hadn't seen
the flickering flamer through the diamond panes,
the sign of her being there –
and she sat in the darkness and held her breath
in the thickening late night air.
And her thoughts went back across the years
when her hair was not yet grey
and they'd plighted their troth one afternoon
before he was called away.
He had promised that he would return to her bower
and knock and she would let him in
ere her courage had slipped down the weary, long years
when alone and wondering she'd been –
and she felt her heart beat with hopes of old
but she feared for the changes she'd find,
uncertain if she would still dare to be free
with the rider who'd left her behind.
Then the horseman drew up at the oaken door
and rapped, and called out to the night
and a hand of mixed longing and ice-cold fear
gripped her heart and held it so tight.
She never answered but heard him call
his message a single time more –
and her soft, dark eyes were bright with tears
when she heard his horse trot from her door
and the echoes closed in and the night grew cold
and she sat and listened and sighed
as the wood rang out with the horse's hooves
till the silence returned – and she cried.