THE TUNNEL OF LOVE

I have not the remotest idea what started this verse, but here it is.

Little one, step in the boat;
Leave the unfamiliar glare !
Come, explore the Tunnel of Love !
Taste the joy-ride that we share !

Before him beckons a seductive void;
The light behind him fades, the gloom advances.
(Keep close, my love, your boat is frail and small !)
Over the deepening water the prow dances.

Child of mine, don't rock the boat !
Venture not the encroaching dark !
In good time the Tunnel of Love
Tests your mettle, leaves its mark !

The tunnel walls retreat, recede from sight;
The voyage that he takes is never-ending;
The water clear, the vessel strong and sure,
To golden arms the puny oars are bending.

Headstrong youth, around your boat
Stalagmite and stalactite
Lie in wait and threaten harm,
Reared in malice, dripping spite.

The walls now closing in upon his way,
His sinews tire, the boat is heavy-laden,
And, far ahead, a winking point of light
Reminds him that his voyage has a haven.

Now you check your failing stroke,
Look around you, greet your friends;
Time enough for love, for rest;
Soon enough the tunnel ends.

The approaching brightness blinds him to the walls;
Here, at his end, he wishes he were starting.
Like death's-heads now, all seven of his sins
Leap out and greet with glee his near departing.

Come, old man, you're losing way !
Arm and oar no more avail.
Short the voyage, dear the cost.
Save your tears, they'll not prevail !

Slowly the vessel glides into the light;
The blades are banked, the oarsman all unheeding;
Tunnel and stream and boat fade far behind,
A memory past; like memory, receding.


W. G. S.
October 1967

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