Broken Jack

Broken Jack, an unknown man,
Sits at the tavern table.
A weathered sage of former tale,
With memory unstable.

The revelers who drink and play,
About the tavern’s locus,
Know not our seasoned broken Jack,
Quite undeterred in focus.

Broken Jack has no intention,
To make a friend or foe.
His mind is caught in recollection,
Of an unforgivable woe.

He cannot recall his father’s name,
Nor the dwelling of his youth.
He remembers not the catechisms,
Or how many he once knew.

And yet one thing permeates,
And recycles o’er again.
‘Tis a choice he made with Clara Belle,
His love, his life, his friend.

It occurred too many years before,
No way to be exact,
Moot details by comparison,
With how he chose to act.

It came down to him or her,
Built on bricks of good intent.
His ambition, her attention,
Two forces incongruent.

He lost her to malady,
Faint heart succumbed to fever.
Yet in his heart he knew it.
T’was a broken spirit that killed her.

In her last breath it was later told him,
She spoke his name intently.
Upon report he buckled and fell,
Ne’er to recover sanity.

Thus now he stammers from place to place,
Heart toiling in bitter strife,
Recalling the fateful precipice,
Of choice that took her life.