The Winter Queen

The Winter Queen

She came softly on the trailing edge

Of fevered dreams and sinking sleep,

Face a mask of opaque ice, her eyes

Blue-bright as a sunlit glacier.

Hair as soft as swan’s lost down

Filled with pearly Honesty and skeletons

Of Queen Anne’s Lace.

Her wreath was of frozen holly leaves

Dotted with berries of bloody red

And dusted with traces of white hoar frost

Like glitter on a Venetian mask.

Her clothes the rags of summer splendour

Faded by the autumn skies

And ripped to ragged ruin

By gales and snowstorms yet to come.

Around her throat withered rowan berries

And rock hard sloes dried to stone

The meagre treasures hanging still

Amid the shaking hedges here.

Her staff a shaft of blackthorn, bare

Of leaves but bearing thorns and buds

Hard and tight as clenched fists

Defiant of the clutch of cold.

Her voice was hoarse with winter storm,

Yet soft as a draught under my door,

Insistent and full of power

Commanding me to obey her words.

The creatures of the wild will need

More food than my late sister did provide,

For my realm and season will persist

Past the time when buds should break.

Take my rowan beads, and hang them

Where the birds will feed

As signal that you will be their friend

Though my reign be far too long.”

I woke. Her touch upon my face

Turned skin to leaden hue like death.

Like a Tree in November ~ stripping the soul bare

Like a Tree in November

 

One by one I will let my leaves fall

All those things that hide my true being:

The words, the smiles, the clothes

Those outward things even I think are me.

Each one detached and falling

Slowly like petals from the cherry tree,

Surrounding my feet, shifting in the breeze

Before settling to begin the slow transition

To mulch and worm food and raw earth.

Then I shall stand naked, stripped bare

Like a tree after November gales.

You will see my true shape unmasked

By pretty colours and shifting shapes

And the confusion of shimmering sunshine.

Then we will see who I might be,

Beneath this coat of many colours

These tales of a thousand nights

And my Scheherazade soul

Who would spin out yet another story

To keep you entertained and distracted

From the true business of staying alive,

Will be faced with the final question:

Who am I?

Snapshot in Ice

I had a return of the severe pain on Saturday, much to my surprise. I didn’t pass out this time, and didn’t go to hospital but instead managed the pain at home. I’m feeling very tired and weak. I’m sure you probably know that the UK is unusually cold and snowy at the moment and I hope to write something about it soon. But the medication and the tiredness are not helpful for inspiration so I shall share a poem I have posted before. I hope to have something fresh for later in the week.

Snapshot in ice

 

The world is frozen,

Every web edged in ice,

Occupant huddled under leaf

Awaiting a thaw.

Seedheads, candied in frost,

Return to brief flowering,

Coated in fragile crystal

So dense it seems furry.

Ferns are turned to fossils,

Chrysanthemums to pom-poms.

Even the air is frozen,

Full of microscopic ice.

Foghorns call across the miles,

Invisible as owls in the night,

And the sea, oblivious,

Crashes softly on the shore.