Only the crow stays now--
a faithful jester
cutting the grey air
with its cry.
Apples, red and green, hang
on the branches
like suspended Autumn thoughts --
I gather red leaves
and decorate my desk.
I light a candle and wait
for the voices of my ancestors
to run through my veins,
to shake and rattle my bones
to whisper softly in my ears.
By now the mist has lifted
and the air is still.
White houses with red roofs
dot the hillside, half asleep.
Today, the land lies flat
and meek. Stillness is
its language, but for
its hidden spells.
Magic is afoot, if you
Dawn breaks yet again.
The queen has the tyrant’s corpse
Thrown to the dogs. She feels no more.
No longer a defiant princess, she’s come
Into her own.
Ravens and crows fly overhead.
The sky is overcast. Wind blasts rage
In her stone heart.
Will the queen ever dance again –-
The queen is strangely quiet tonight.
The tyrant wonders.
He marvels at her wild, quivering beauty,
Her fierce gaze, her stone voice,
Her seductive ways.
Oh, the tyrant is falling in love.
And when she draws him into her
Chambers, he wants to cry and fall
At her feet in adoration…
But a terrible hag, with eyes like burning
Coals, clutches at his arm.
He tries to escape, to find a way out,
All in vain.
Don’t you recognise her, tyrant –
It’s the same old hag that advised
What did you do with her advice –
You chose with a proud heart, you
Had your evil way. Now, slide
The princess’s eyes are ablaze now.
She throws the key and sees her destiny.
In this darkest hour, she invokes her,
The Dark Mother of all those that seek
Redress and retribution.
Come – Mother – come.
Make me burn with your unquenching fire.
Turn me into a cold dagger, into a deathly
Nightmare, that I may tear the tyrant’s heart
From his chest.
And the Dark Mother comes.
Tonight, my child, you are to bring
The wretched beast to me.
And just when all seems lost, the key
Clicks in the lock and opens the forbidden door.
All the darkness and stench of the world
Jump at her and suck her inside.
Her feline eyes see in the dark.
There’s an unsealed coffin on some planks.
The lid has been removed.
She trembles and stumbles in the dark,
And when she is near enough, she covers
Her mouth and opens her eyes wide in a wild,
Piercing, soundless cry.
Her prince is lying there.
As handsome as ever; yet no longer
Dancing and laughing. She covers his smooth
Brow with everlasting kisses. His full lips
Are pressed into a sad line.
He, the prince of all the dances, frozen
Into the baffling stillness of death.
He himself dreams of his cruel lot
In a stupor of disbelief.