I live contentedly in a log cabin in the beautiful lake region of northern New Jersey. I’ve recently published my sixth collection of poetry, Love Sonnets, with Kelsay Press. I most enjoy my family, writing, pizza, and football. For more information please visit my website: http://williambaer.net
The Ballad of Jeanne Bertaut
At the death of Jeanne Bertaut,
at the age of thirty-one,
we all expected her husband’s career
would soon be over and done.
When Victor Bertaut had married Jeanne
several years ago,
he was a dazzling orator,
and a bit of a Romeo.
He was also vain and rude and crude,
too ambitious for his age,
impossible to get along with,
and given to fits of rage.
But Jeanne soon saved him from himself,
being smart and thoughtful and kind,
she calmed him down and helped her lover
focus his brilliant mind.
So he went from being a political “crank”
to a bright star on the rise,
but, now, his guardian angel was buried
beneath the Parisian skies.
It didn’t take long for his troubles to start,
each of his own design,
and when he insulted Cheron in the Chamber,
he felt it was time to resign.
But Victor received an unusual letter,
a letter from the dead,
a letter from his loving wife,
so he read everything she said.
It seems that Jeanne foresaw his trouble,
on her deathbed near the end,
and gave a personal handwritten letter
to a secret trusted friend.
The very next day, Victor Bertaut
did exactly as advised,
standing before Cheron in the Chamber,
he humbly apologized.
But, in Morocco, a few months later,
enjoying a rare vacation,
he met the beautiful Dora Bergmann
and couldn’t resist temptation.
Dora was a stunning adventuress,
anything but shy,
a “poet-explorer” with a shady past,
and rumored to be a spy.
When Victor decided to propose to Dora,
having fallen under her spell,
a second letter from the dead
arrived at his hotel.
He read the letter, broke things off,
returned to Saint-Germain,
while Dora retreated to West Sahara
to explore the desert terrain.
Then, two years later, Bertaut met Aimé,
who was lovely as she could be,
but he was wary of committing himself,
But then the final letter came,
so he bought a diamond ring,
and they married happily-ever-after
in the warm Parisian spring.
But, often, he visits his guardian angel,
who taught him how to behave,
from her tomb in Père Lachaise
with letters from the grave.
©2016 William Baer