June 11, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Sun, Sky, Moon, By Priya Sridhar

Editor’s note, 2020: This poem effectively captures the essence of the difficult fairy tale, “Donkeyskin,” by Charles Perrault. Please note that EC is not accepting poetry this year, but will next year. In any case, I think you’ll enjoy this throwback, from 2014.

I read your scroll demanding 
A gown woven from the sun's rays
Embroidered with the brightest sunset
And the darkest flowers

I walked into the woods
Past the tallest trees, the thorniest bushes
Climbing the tallest hill
That climbs into the curving sky.

A sheaf of silk hung from my hands,
Dyed the color of marigolds in bloom.
I held it on the hill, feeling the setting sun
Entering the rippling cloth.

I caught each glistening, sweltering ray
So that the silk glowed and blazed
So will your daughter glow
In the gleam of your eye

I read your next scroll,
The handwriting curved and neat
Asking for a dress tailored from the sky
Embroidered with the finest clouds

I climbed the castle's tallest tower
Each step creaking my bones
Until I read the cobwebbed window
And climbed the narrow spire.
Thin muslin, blue and grey
Hung from my fingers
Spun with the stormy gusts
And tore at the fragile corners

I caught each breath of wind
So that the muslin murmured in pain
So will your daughter rip
In the heat of your heart

I read your last scroll,
The demanding words in a nervous scrawl:
A dress the color of our moon
Embroidered with the placid stars
I took white satin to the nearest lake
To spread on a makeshift loom
Carved from the spindliest rowan
Until the stars and darkness blanketed the water.
When the moon showed her face,
I drew her light from the lake's reflections,
A perfect mirror that turned away
Waxy-grey melted with charcoal black.

The satin absorbed these whites and greys,
Turning and twisting in my grasp
So will your daughter writhe
In the grasp of your hands.

Priya says, "Enclosed below is the poem "Sun, Sky, Moon" inspired by the fairytale "Donkeyskin". The idea came from the fact that if the princess had a fairy godmother telling her to get the dresses to delay the marriage to her father, then the king would have a magical servant who could get the dresses.

"Laksha Media has accepted "Memoriam" for publication in their 2017 anthology Where the Stars Rise. Beneath Ceaseless Skies accepted "Jeweled Nawab Resort" for publication in spring 2016. Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles published "The Opera Singer" in the 2015 Lovecraftian anthology, She Walks in Shadows. Alban Lake released my novella "Carousel" for publication in fall 2014." Priya has numerous other writing credits.


Image by Harry Clarke.


Lissa Sloan said...

Oooh, this poem gave me chills! This is a favorite tale type of mine and you did it creepy justice!

Sarah Allison said...

I always wondered how the king got those dresses! Love the descriptions and the voice.

Kelly Jarvis said...

I love this poem! It is such a disturbing tale, but the descriptions of the dresses are so beautiful.

Katew said...

The dress descriptions really stuck out for me too!