April 5, 2012

A Tale of Two Witches, By Shannon Connor Winward, Feb. Honorable Mention


With my head in my hands

I lamented my plight -

an open tome before me

and nothing to write.


“Sister, take my hand,” you said.

“This is something you should see.”

You led me from our forest house

into a maze of trees

 
We flew through hazel , ash and birch

holly, oak and thorn

over fields of barley, wheat and rye

root vegetables and corn


past the farmsteads and the crossroad inns

and down the merchant’s trails

through the gate and the cobbled streets

of the City of FairyTales.


“Look, Dearest, how they toil,”

you laughed as we set down

on a rooftop in the thick of it

this busy, worried town.


“Look at the cinder girl, with sisters cruel!

Look at the cobbler, childless and old.

Look how the miller’s daughter weeps

for straw that won’t be gold.

 
See there, an orphan, bereft

with only a cat for a friend

and there, a lad with a pocket of beans

and a family to tend.


Look how sad, how poor, how droll!

Even their royalty frets!

for children, for power

for princesses in towers

 
for princes with impossible tests.

One Queen dies, another plots

the King mopes on this throne

while his kingdom rots


tell me, Sister, have you ever imagined

a place so boringly tragic?”

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I asked.

And you grinned.  “Let’s give them magic.

 
“You sing for water,” I said,

“I’ll awaken the earth.”

“You call the wind, and I’ll summon fire,”

you replied with mischief and mirth.

 
“Come spirits, come sprites,” we beckoned

“come sigils, come totems and charms

come sisters of moonlight, brothers of wood,”

we cackled and strode arm and arm


down chimneys , through storefronts

side-streets and stables

wells, bridges, balconies

and wealthy men’s tables

 
trailing fortune and curses

enchantments and wishes

here glamours, there goblins

and serendipitous kisses

 
turning peasants to nobles

and nobles to beasts

giving voices to cats

and crashing King’s feasts


east of the sun

and west of the moon

within and without

magic bestrewn


over all the land of Fairy

that dull little place

now a kingdom of wonder

hope, wisdom, and grace.


And returned, then, we did

giggling and giddy

to our cottage, our haven

just two doting biddies

 
with our cats and our cauldrons

and our head full of glories

racing each to our tablets

to write down the stories.
 
 
Shannon tells us: "My writing has appeared in such venues as: Pedestal Magazine, Strange Horizons, Flash Fiction Online, This Modern Writer [Pank Magazine], NewMyths.Com, Ideomancer, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, and the anthologies Twisted Fairy Tales: Volume Two (Wicked East Press), Jack-o’-Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy (Raven Electrik Ink) and Spec-tacular: Fantasy Favorites from Raven Electrick Ink. "

Image by Paul Delaroche has been altered.

4 comments

  1. What a wonderful poem! I loved it. thank you for posting

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  2. I love this, Lady. :)

    "And returned, then, we did

    giggling and giddy

    to our cottage, our haven

    just two doting biddies"

    Made me grin even bigger after reading the rest. It is such a beautifully funny loving bit. Perfect. That really is your gift- visual, emotional writings. :)

    -Carolynn Evans

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  3. What a creative poem! I like that you drew out the tragic side of fairy tales, and wrote about characters who infused magic into the fairy tale world. Interesting concept.

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  4. I'm a bit late on finding this! With that said... I adore this poem! Your word choice certainly gave it a feel of "A Tale of Two Witches." Also, you have a clever way of rhyming and pulling together many fairy tales! Without magic, their stories really are 'boringly tragic.'

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