The ship's log read 'three years afloat', though

barnacled from Neptune's test,

Escaping reefs near lands remote, embraced

Japan, she'd done her best.

Anchored in the balmy breeze, tattered sails

furled near the shore,

Gone the wind-chilled, angry seas, labyrinthian

waters touched Earth's core.

The weary sailor stepped ashore, noisy seagulls


Soon to give his dreams a hand, steaming bath

and clean, white bed.

Shaving his seafarer's beard, memories began to


Journey perils no more feared, he had returned

to find his lover.

Taken sick in port one year, dying in a dim


Doctors said his end was near, and yet a geisha

made him well.

Left for dead by shipmates all, the mighty clipper

sailed that dawn.

Delirium-shrouded cast-off-call, he heard it not,

the ship had gone.

Through frenzied fever he could see spectral moon-

light swim 'n swirl;

Scurvy scabs, frightful sores, bathed gently by the

geiko girl.

Her echoed voice was his reprieve, as getas clicked

upon the stones;

Drizzle-rain had filled the eve, seeping deep into

his bones.

Porcelain hands soothed sweated brow, but not

for her he would have died;

The sailor made a solemn vow, Death's Angel's plan

had been denied.

New found strength with rising sun, he asked what

price would set her free;

T'wd take a treasure to be done; to get the gold

he went to sea.

Three long years to earn the cost, he'd labored hard,

he had the price.

Now returned to find her lost ... he had not seen

the sacrifice.

Brain afire and gold in hand, his search became a

nightmare fright;

It didn't go as he had planned, no place that painted

face of white.

He checked the cages through grey dawn, in

Yoshiwara's shadowed space,

But friends all said that she had gone, for

sometime now, into disgrace.

She had been ill and of no use, her sickness

caught from unclean men;

They smugly sneered and turned away, he heard

them whisper, "She was so thin."

A panic search, no face in sight, through alleys

dim 'n musty old;

At last - a hushed and umbral light, there lay

his Geisha, still and cold.

Beneath the steps that creaked 'n groaned, there

came a tiny, shattered breath;

"Sailor man come back," she moaned; his brocade

doll lay still, near death.

In sickened state she hid her face, but took

some water in small sips;

Cradled head on death-bed cot, he kissed her

burning, bleeding lips.

"I have the gold to set you free!" She shook her

head, what could she do?

Her medicine had raised the fee, one choice was

left, and they both knew.

Two silhouettes embraced that night, beneath

the owl's grey-hooded wing.

Nocturnal creature was their crown, the frosted

hush would be their spring.

Ivory seagulls soared in flight, caressed the

gentle moon so free;

Two souls departed that dark night ... a million

stars fell in the sea!

Dishonored still they would not yield, their saddened

lives had not been blessed;

In Yoshiwara's potter's field, the lovers' bodies

laid to rest.

Damp and humid, dismal earth; centuries passed, the

sunbeams fled.

Moldy leaves untouched since birth, the sepulchers

rise overhead.

Enoki trees with rotted stumps, mildewed soil on

darkened ground;

Fearful worms that move grass clumps, midst it all

a ghastly sound.

Hollow winds sigh soft and low; poison mushrooms


Prompting wonder how they'd grown in depths

obscured from sunken eyes.

Symmetrical in ghostly gloom; surrounding the

melan abyss;

Engraved the star-crossed lovers' tomb; dew fell

upon the lunar kiss.

No incense burns or flowers grow as velvet

skin caresses bones,

And in this place of lasting snow, the ears are

filled with distant moans.

Shy Courtesan with painted eyes, small butterfly

in silk brocade;

Beneath the chill her body lies ... the price

of freedom long been paid.

Dust settles on her glossy hair, crystal flesh

decays at last;

But ever yet so gentle, fair ... her sailor's arms

still hold her fast.

Contact Carole, visit Carole's Gallery, return to Carole's Poetry,

her Book Page or Carole's tribute to sculptor Frank James Morgan