Steven and Ann

Steven and Ann sat on a bench all day,

It didn't matter what the rest would say.

She recited poems to him; he spoke to her in French.

And all day they would sit, in the park, on the bench.

Their families were rivals, by no means friends,

They wished and they wished for the affair to end.

But as loud as they'd squawk and as hard as they'd wrench,

Ann and Steven still met, in the park, on the bench.

Years ago had been a quarrel, over what none could recall,

(And indeed, if they had, they'd have seen it was quite small).

But the reason didn't matter, the point was still this:

Ann and Steven were not meant to share that first kiss.

How his mother did screech when he asked if Ann was able,

To join them for supper and to sit at their table.

She would not welcome such "an unwholesome wench,"

So Steven instead spent his evening on the bench.

How her brother made threats and displayed a clenched fist,

And when she turned her back to him, he grabbed her hard by the wrist.

Her beau he would murder, cut his throat in the dark,

Then she ran away, crying 'til she got to the park.

Their choices now clear, each other or their kin,

They decided that night to leave and start again.

In the morning they'd depart just as fast as they can,

To a place more accepting of Steven and Ann.

What happened that night is a mystery even now,

And while everyone knew why, no one could really say how.

But the next day they were gone, and to where no one knew.

They had vanished overnight without leaving a clue.

But correction, if your please, for that's not entirely true,

For now, on the bench, appeared something brand new.

There, on a plank, carved right in the middle,

Were the names Steven Walker and Ann Marie Little.

The families pointed fingers over who was to blame,

But cared nothing for their children, only the family name.

For when it came right down to it, they would always choose the latter.

Steve and Ann had chosen differently, but soon enough it wouldn't matter.

For the wind would batter, and the rain would drench,

The carved names in the wood of the plank of the bench.

Soon the wood would be old, used, weathered and rotten,

And the lovers and their bench would forever be forgotten.

And yes, over time the names faded, but the story spread wide,

A tale of true love that would not be denied.

In each other they had found all in life that was good,

And summed up their discovery on that one plank of wood.

And the strength of that love, like the bench, it was stated,

By those families long ago, had been underestimated.

For the bench remained firm, and sat year after year,

A silent reminder of what once happened here.

Ann and Steven's tale became an oft-told one.

I heard it the first time from the school librarian.

The Walkers and Littles by then were all gone.

The bench had survived them, and the story carried on.

Legends sprang up, and I'd heard it was said,

That lovers who kissed there were sure to be wed.

And that the beacon of love would never go dark,

On any who met at that bench, in the park.

But in time, time caught up, and although it seemed cruel,

The bench would be removed to make room for a pool.

Ann and Steven never again had been heard from, and yet,

All felt a deep sadness, losing the place where they met.

Their families despised them, disowned them as well.

Can you imagine living through that kind of hell?

The bench was a testament to what love can overcome,

A challenge given to all, but met by just some.

And alas, the day came, when their bench would be moved,

A cement truck stood by, containing cement to be smoothed.

The names of Ann and Steven were still there on the wood,

They had marked the location for as long as they could.

Then the bench was removed, and a crane, in its role,

Began to carve out the new swimming hole.

The first clump of dirt hit the earth with a plop,

When suddenly a worker, wide-eyed, shouted, "Stop!"

O, how tall-tales develop, and assumptions do lie,

And we do not see what is clear to the eye.

Someone had learned of the lovers' desperate plight.

And now was revealed what had happened that night.

He pointed to a spot in the newly dug trench,

That had been directly below the names on the bench.

Holding hands in the ground, a sight to make one's blood curl,

The bones of a boy and the bones of a girl.