Throwback Thursday: The Snow Queen's Gifts: A Poem in Seven Stanzas by Kelly Jarvis
Editor's Note: We're celebrating glorious Snow Queens this December, so please enjoy today's Throwback Thursday poem, full of wonderful winter imagery and fairy tale magic!
You do not have a Godmother
To plait your hair with hues of dappled sunshine,
Or sew a dress of scented roses
That sings of summer each time you spin
At the Prince’s Solstice Ball.
No kindly crone will comfort you
In the creases of the forest
While you wait for walnuts to fall like tears upon your mother’s grave.
Their wrinkled shells won’t spill forth gowns threaded thick with autumn’s dying light.
No wish will soothe your weathered wounds of grief.
An orphan of the Northern Realm,
You must hitch your sled to ravens’ wings,
And pay with heated copper pennies for your passage through the sky.
You must journey, barefoot, through storms of ice,
Clad in the skin of a beast you have slain,
Its bloodied fur forcing you forward,
Its death a sacrifice.
You may encounter winter witches,
You may cling to the backs of bears,
You may let reindeer lick your salty tears
and kiss you with their soft, pink tongues,
But, in that barren landscape you will find yourself, alone,
With nothing but the Northern Lights to guide your wandering way.
Let your breath become a crystal prayer
That echoes through the night
Drawing down the silver light
of December’s waning moon.
Follow swarms of milk white bees.
Find the Queen in frosted blooms,
Beautiful, terrible, exquisite, cold.
A glimmer of hope in winter’s white gloom.
If you solve her puzzles, she will gift you a glorious gown
Stitched from ten-pointed stars and the black velvet of night.
Shards of frost, clear as glass, become a crown for your hair,
And snowflakes become slippers that slide over ice.
Her sleigh, pulled by white chickens, will whisk you away
Through dark billowing clouds that breathe windstorms of fright,
Until you arrive where you started, in the Realm of the North,
At the Ball that rejoices in the return of the light.
Your beauty will shatter into thousands of pieces
As you glide past gilded mirrors lining the walls.
Shards, hard as diamonds, will lodge in the eyes
Of the Prince, seeking his soulmate at the Solstice Ball.
In you he will see the spheres of the heavens,
Hear the songs of creation,
Feel the romance of death.
He will wish to possess your enchanted beauty far more
Than you wish for a Prince or a safe place to rest.
Strong from your trials, you will leave long before midnight,
Your slippers of snowflakes still firm on your feet.
You will laugh as the wind whisks the stars from your dress,
And your slippers of snowflakes melt back into sleet.
An orphan of the Northern Realm,
You will hitch your rags to eastern skies,
Let the dappled sunrise warm the seeds
That barely breathe beneath the blackened soil,
Knowing that soon,
Snow-quenched roses will bloom,
A gift from
The Snow Queen.
Kelly Jarvis teaches classes in literature, writing, and fairy tale at Central Connecticut State University, The University of Connecticut, and Tunxis Community College. She lives, happily ever after, with her husband and three sons in a house filled with fairy tale books. She is also The Fairy Tale Magazine's special project’s writer.
Image: The Snow Queen, Amanda Bergloff @AmandaBergloff