- A perfect summer Saturday,
- Sunlight on water,
- Enough of a breeze,
- Few mosquitoes,
- Home early enough to recharge before bed,
- And to chase the cat around the house;
- She thinks I’m a toy!
- An Introvert’s perfect getaway,
- Love me and let me be me!
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This is a picture of my favourite door. I took it at Stirling Castle in Scotland in May 2010. Though, technically, it’s more of a gate than a door.
Doors open and close. They invite in and lock out. The doors of my house enclose my cave. I wish I had less windows and doors in my house. I like the closeness of a cave. One entry in and out. This way you always know who is coming. Are they Friend or Foe?
Perhaps that is why I like this gate door because I can see through it. If you look closely, you can see there is someone there. I didn’t notice the someone when I took the picture. I only noticed later when I was able to blow the picture up. I was focused on the door. On the stillness of the door. On the aloneness of the door.
This is me: still, alone, hiding behind doors.
In memory of my Scotland trip here is a Scottish poem about doors.
Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
or a magic city.
. . .
Go and open the door.
If there’s a fog
it will clear.
Go and open the door.
Even if there’s only
the darkness ticking,
even if there’s only
the hollow wind,
go and open the door.
For the rest of the poem, go over to the Scottish Poetry Library.
Don’t be afraid to open the door.
Snow White Learns Witchcraft
by Theodora Goss
One day she looked into her mother’s mirror.
The face looking back was unavoidably old,
with wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. I’ve smiled
a lot, she thought. Laughed less, and cried a little.
A decent life, considered altogether.
She’d never asked it the fatal question that leads
to a murderous heart and red-hot iron shoes.
But now, being curious, when it scarcely mattered,
she recited Mirror, mirror, and asked the question:
Who is the fairest? Would it be her daughter?
No, the mirror told her. Some peasant girl
in a mountain village she’d never even heard of.
Well, let her be fairest. It wasn’t so wonderful
being fairest. Sure, you got to marry the prince,
at least if you were royal, or become his mistress
if you weren’t, because princes don’t marry commoners,
whatever the stories tell you. It meant your mother,
whose skin was soft and smelled of parma violets,
who watched your father with a jealous eye,
might try to eat your heart, metaphorically —
or not. It meant the huntsman sent to kill you
would try to grab and kiss you before you ran
into the darkness of the sheltering forest.
How comfortable it was to live with dwarves
who didn’t find her particularly attractive.
Seven brothers to whom she was just a child, and then,
once she grew tall, an ungainly adolescent,
unlike the shy, delicate dwarf women
who lived deep in the forest. She was constantly tripping
over the child-sized furniture they carved
with patterns of hearts and flowers on winter evenings.
She remembers when the peddlar woman came
to her door with laces, a comb, and then an apple.
How pretty you are, my dear, the peddlar told her.
It was the first time anyone had said
that she was pretty since she left the castle.
She didn’t recognize her. And if she had?
Mother? She would have said. Mother, is that you?
How would her mother have answered? Sometimes she wishes
the prince had left her sleeping in the coffin.
He claimed he woke her up with true love’s kiss.
The dwarves said actually his footman tripped
and jogged the apple out. She prefers that version.
It feels less burdensome, less like she owes him.
Because she never forgave him for the shoes,
red-hot iron, and her mother dancing in them,
the smell of burning flesh. She still has nightmares.
It wasn’t supposed to be fatal, he insisted.
Just teach her a lesson. Give her blisters or boils,
make her repent her actions. No one dies
from dancing in iron shoes. She must have had
some sort of heart condition. And after all,
the woman did try to kill you. She didn’t answer.
And so she inherited her mother’s mirror,
but never consulted it, knowing too well
the price of coveting beauty. She watched her daughter
grow up, made sure the girl could run and fight,
because princesses need protecting, and sometimes princes
are worse than useless. When her husband died,
she went into mourning, secretly relieved
that it was over: a woman’s useful life,
nurturing, procreative. Now, she thinks,
I’ll go to the house by the seashore where in summer
we would take the children (really a small castle),
with maybe one servant. There, I will grow old,
wrinkled and whiskered. My hair as white as snow,
my lips thin and bloodless, my skin mottled.
I’ll walk along the shore collecting shells,
read all the books I’ve never had the time for,
and study witchcraft. What should women do
when they grow old and useless? Become witches.
It’s the only role you get to write yourself.
I’ll learn the words to spells out of old books,
grow poisonous herbs and practice curdling milk,
cast evil eyes. I’ll summon a familiar:
black cat or toad. I’ll tell my grandchildren
fairy tales in which princesses slay dragons
or wicked fairies live happily ever after.
I’ll talk to birds, and they’ll talk back to me.
Or snakes — the snakes might be more interesting.
This is the way the story ends, she thinks.
It ends. And then you get to write your own story.
Walking the dog in Spring,
Traversing a minefield of ice,
Breaking thin ice covered puddles with our steps;
She laps up the cold dirty water.
I step over a pile of deer droppings.
Morning after morning after morning,
The sun rises earlier and earlier –
We long for the refreshing end to Winter.
Is it Spring yet?
Thanks Ailsa for the prompt.
A Pang is more conspicuous in Spring
In contrast with the things that sing
Not Birds entirely – but Minds –
Minute Effulgencies and Winds –
When what they sung for is undone
Who cares about a Blue Bird’s Tune –
Why, Resurrection had to wait
Till they had moved a Stone –
A Pang is more conspicuous in Spring
In response to The Daily Post’s photo challenge Half-Light!
Lifetimes have passed since.
The length of a generation.
It’s been a life time – babies who were born that year are now young women as they were. They were women who never got to fulfill their destiny.
A Mother’s Grief.
A mother who will never hug her daughter’s daughter to her breast.
Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.
My previous words of remembrance are here.
This post is in response to Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Tangle.
When I think of a tangled mess, I think of Jewelry. Unless I kept mine in their individual boxes my necklaces were always in a tangle.
My Scottish grandparents use to buy us a necklace every Christmas when we were young. We only wore them to church. I was (am) a fiddler, if my necklaces were not in a tangled mess then their chains were broken from me constantly fiddling with them.
As a young adult, I wished to appear sophisticated so I bought my self jewelry. I never wore it. This is the last of what I bought all untangled and on its way to big sister’s house for the nieces and grand-nieces to enjoy.
I’m sitting here staring at an empty space
It’s not that I don’t have things to fill it with
In fact, I have an abundance of things
Thoughts, memories, hopes
But they’re all jumbled together
Tangled, like poorly stored necklaces
The chains wrapped tightly around each other
Almost impossible to separate
(First of three stanzas)
Spring arrived Friday evening just before sunset.
Snow is expected today.
Thus is Spring.
A music box is a Lady’s treasure chest.
A music box is a Lady’s lock-box.
(NOT that type of box. Get your mind out of the gutter).
It is something only she can open.
It is a place to keep treasures.
It is a place to keep secrets.
I had a pink music box when I was seven.
I was not yet a Lady.
(Am I a Lady now?)
It had a pink ballerina in a tiny, pink tutu made of tulle.
She twirled round and round not quite dancing.
I would have preferred a musical carousal with tiny, perfect horses.
I did not want a practical music box that was also a jewelry box.
I had no jewels.
The poor own nothing of value.
Seven years later, I coveted the Imperial Easter Eggs of Russia.
This was my ballerina phase.
This was my Anastasia phase.
I read and read and read.
Books about the Russian ballet.
Books about the last Imperial family of Russia.
I coveted riches.
I would settle for any jewel-encrusted token made by Faberge.
Perhaps a tiny tortoise or a regal elephant to grace my window-sill.
I had no need of a jewelry box.
I had no need of a music box.
I had no need of music.
I had secrets within me.
I had a ticket not unlike Willy Wonka’s. It would lead me through the maze, down a winding path and home again.
I had a handful of river and ocean stones to guide the way. Forward or backwards it didn’t matter. I took a stone from every body of water that I came upon. I kept them in my pocket.
I had a mysterious envelope full of fortunes collected throughout my life. There were no repeats. All of them were right. All of them were wrong. All of them were mine.
I had a winding key. I still have not discovered what it winds up (or down, as the case may be). I have no time-piece to try it on. I have too much time. I have not enough time.
I have no need of a music box.
I have no need of a treasure chest.
All I need I can carry in my heart, in my mind and in my imagination.
I have no need.
February’s posts will be inspired by the Ray Bradbury Noun List.