Sunday, 2 March 2008

The White Road

extract from 'The White Road'

And when her grave was dug –
A small hole it was, for she was a little thing,
Even big with child she was a little thing –
He walked below her back and forth,
Rehearsing her hearsing, thus:
good evening, my pigsnie, my love,
my, but you look a treat in the moon’s light,
mother of my child-to-be. Come, let me hold you.
And he’d embrace the midnight air with one hand,
And with the other, holding his short but wicked knife,
He’d stab at the dark.

She trembled in her oak above him. Breathed so softly,
But still she shook. And once he looked up and said,
Owls I’ll wager, and another time Fie! Is that a cat
Up there? Here puss… but she was still,
Bethought herself a branch, a leaf, a twig. At dawn
He took his mattock, spade and knife and left all grumbling and gudgeoned of his prey.

They found her later wandering, her wits
had left her. There were oak leaves in her hair
and she sang:

The bough did bend,
The bough did break
I saw the hole
The fox did make
We swore to love
We swore to marry
I saw the blade did carry

I have been reading a lot of Neil Gaiman lately - excellent stuff. one of his prose poems that i read in 'Smoke and Mirrors' stood out:

This section stood out as something that rang with Blodeuedd, the betrayal and revenge though a complete reversal of the myth we have left. Then there is the short story called the "Daughter of Owls": a baby girl is found in a church porch with an owl pellet in her hand. she is thought to be a witch or somesuch and as such she is kept away from the villagers in an old abandoned house. Only the women of the town go there to feed her. after some planning and plotting, the men of the village decide to go en masse and avail her of her virginity, they break in and after much screeching and hooting they disappear and are never seen again, likewise the Daughter of Owls. Again, a nice little devil-bird tale. Actually i dont like the devil bird phrase but it 'fits', the outcast and maligned female who was nothing but her open sexual and strong self.

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