A poem based on the folktale of the Mistletoe Bride.
|A relic long trapped in the old oak chest,|
The last withered child of that Christmas feast,
Its round perfection now wrinkled parchment.
Mocking changeling! That day's sole document;
A single berry. All that's left of her,
My vanished bride. So long sought, found nowhere.
Is this the only trace she left? Back runs
The ghostly breath of that day. Memory turns.
Past the glossy boughs of holly winking,
Flowing mead, carefree laughter, guests dancing.
Hazy voices flit like grasshopper calls.
The dream is broken by bells. Wedding bells.
One with the fresh mistletoe berries' song,
As though as they scatter the flags they ring,
Breeze-torn from the hand of the bright-eyed bride.
'Be sure thou'rt the first to find me,' she cried.
Berries spray o'er the sea of her gown, sail
Phantom-like about her waterfall veil
As if her spirit were streaming away,
Leaving its fragments in berries that lay
Like the blossom fall of the spring to bright
Summer. Now they hurt me like a snow blight.
Was I fated to love a fairy bride
Light as sunbeams that through the lattice glide?
Those very thistledown rays seemed wedded
With her presence. Misty blue and yellowed
Like the glow atop a cloud was her gown
As she fled. Her ariel world torn down
Harshly when I pursued, calling her name.
Lonesome, wild, I called her long. Call again,
My voice frail with age. She will ne'er heed.
The last berry runs to dust in my hand.