June 24, 2011

Remember Winter, By Deborah Walker

The lean hare leaping across the white sky.
The sun riding high and small and bright,
shine on layers of snow, flakes accumulate,
into this old,  this deep coldness

I never knew I would feel this.
Spring, summer, autumn, and
then the winter.
I fell though time,
 my fate a rolling, turning ball of ice.

Three times I bound my daughter.
First with coloured strings,
tying her to her childhood,
so tight she could not breathe,
 Then I pulled the shell comb through her hair,
My teeth were poison-needle sharp
I'd get into her head,
 if I couldn't have her heart.
The third was the offer of flesh, red-ripe with promise.
She bit it eagerly remembering Eve,
the taste of sweet, awaiting knowledge.
Forgetting that old Eve now sits with her raven,
in the cave, alone.

I knew you then, my daughter, maid of spring.
Innocence and dreaming.
Pure and perfect.
Monumental maiden preserved in glass.
I knew that that all things turn
 on the cycle the seasons bring
White-armed Persephone leaving
behind the four seeds in the barren ground. 

Daughter, you shed my poisoned gifts,
Will you remember winter,
as you call for the shoes of hot iron?
 I will dance, and I will be glad,
for I long to feel some warmth.

But daughter, remember winter, for she will come again.

Deborah's poetry has been published in Enchanted Conversation, Mirror Dance, and Dreams and Nightmares. She lives in London with her partner and two young children. She blogs sporadically at Deborah Walker's Bibliography


Pam said...

This one gave me chills - well done!

Anonymous said...

Deliciously ominous! Loved the Perspehone imagery.

Deborah Walker said...

Thank you, Pam and missmystra. I do enjoy my ominous voice, and where better to use it than in the mother/stepmother of Snow White. I do, have some, well sympathy is the wrong word, but understanding for her.

I also wanted to play with ideas of ageing, and link them to the seasons.

John C. Mannone said...

You did well, Debs, I am proud of you. Congratulations!


Anonymous said...

Wow. Nicely done, Deborah. I feel a lingering chill...

AnnieColleen said...

This definitely calls up sympathy for her...which makes it all the more chilling when you remember again who's speaking. Well done!

Cate Gardner said...

Good lord that was beautiful. And dark, very dark.

Deborah Walker said...

Thank you Milo and John, for stopping by. I'm glad you both liked it.

Deborah Walker said...

Hello AnnieColleen, I think the evil mother/stepmother/queen/witch characters in fairy tales are fascinating. I alway wonder about their story.

Hey Cate, fairytales are so deliciously dark, aren't they? It's a shame they've been cleaned up so much, I'm sure that children would be thrilled by the original versions.

Anonymous said...

This was wonderful! I throughly enjoyed this because I felt like there was an edge to your piece. At the end it made me quiver a little bit because Winter will come again and I felt that there was some sort of haunting that you wanted to portray in your writing. I think you should continue on with another poem about Snow White's step mother coming back to haunt her during the Winter. You have very good detail and creativity in this poem. The perspective you give is just amazing. The last line is the best part. When you wrote, "But daughter, remember winter, for she will come again," it gave me chills. and I find it very interesting that you referred to Winter as "she." Is there a meaning behind that, that I missed? Keep up the good work!

Hannah R.