The Dowager by Brenda-Lee Ranta


Forsaking all others,

she followed him

Wealth eluded them

Meatless stews fed them

Love sustained them

Abiding fiercely, their

boots caked in mud,

trudging through the

pounding rain; beseeching,

to earn a few pence

Her long wool coat, wet,

sagged, heaving upon her,

soaked to her skin, shaking

with cold, he sheltered her;

his arm about her


Making their way home,

a small cabin, tucked in the

nettles and brier, be their

refuge; although pockets

again, be empty

He hung the oil skin on

the nail, lit the fire, desperate

that shivering would cease.

Boiling the kettle, her hand

upon his forehead

Beads of sweat formed

above his brow, a flush

forming on his face, a slow

rising flush, his body aching,

eyes fluttering


He lay upon a straw mattress,

she, burying him in heavy quilts;

mopped the wet rag upon his skin

Fear crept through her, filling her

A crow cried

“Oh woe to us, be it not

the fever that kills, be it

not the fever that kills,”

she begged of the heavens.

A crow cried.


His mutterings, his moans;

three days, his body afire.

He knew her, slipping away,

speaking of other lives, in

his tortured dreams.

She lay against him, begging

that he stay, begging he not

thither unto death’s door,

whispering balms of endless

adoration into his ear.

Stillness came, the quilts

motionless upon him, soundless

wails, upon his chest;

anguish consumed her.

Crows cried.


She, the dowager of nothing,

owning nothing but his oil

skin, coveting the quilts that

held his scent, her soul dead.

Crows gathered. Crows cried.


© Brenda-Lee Ranta


Excerpt from the book “Myriad of Perceptions”

$13.95 Plus Shipping ~ Available at CTU Publishing Group and

brenda About the Author

Brenda-Lee Ranta resides in a small mining town, in Timmins, Ontario, Canada.  She has been employed with her local Police Service for 19 years. She shares her journey with her life partner, who is a musician, poet and lyricist; their rescue dog, Jake and rascal cat Fritz. She is the mother of three children, two step-children and three grandchildren.  They are her greatest pride and joy.

 Always moved by poetry and prose, she has been most inspired by the works of Leonard Cohen, an amazing Canadian word-smith. This is her first book containing a cross section of her works.

 Visit Brenda-Lee’s Author Page At:

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1 reply


  1. The Dowager by Brenda-Lee Ranta — Creative Talents Unleashed | The Lyrical Journal

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