Saturday, December 29, 2012

Last Dream of the Snow Spirit

This is another repost, intended to keep the blog on life support while I enjoy a break from the internet. I hope to be back after New Year's. 
Until then, best wishes to all my bloggy friends and readers.

Moonlight Kinetic

Last Dream of the Snow Spirit

The Snow Spirit is old, psychotic and white.
Icicles hang like devil’s teeth from her soul.
When the black wind rackets in the twelve-hour night
they gnash a rattling storm till nothing’s whole.
She weights down the housetops, steers toy cars to flight
kills birds in the air with breath as dark as coal;
and yet all things old and wretched once were young.
She’s forgotten what she was, or what she’s done.

Was she a blue irreverent river sprite,
who crossed some bitter god with her defiance,
made ice to live a millenium in white?
She seems to see instead a green alliance,
herself a leaf that danced in dumb delight,
ten million sister leaves her full reliance,
woodborn in a place of sun and wind made song.
But she’s old and mad; her memory’s often wrong.

Or didn’t she drip, a lanquid amber mist,
over fields and woods at dusk, all warm wet airs,
a drink for fiddling crickets, a slippery wrist
that washed down idiot mice or hipshot mares?
Perhaps she was the ripened pale poppy’s fist
a wild wind’s daughter whose white and jagged tears
bled the sap of sweetest rest beyond all thought,
punished now for the ignorant death she brought.

Whatever she was, whatever form now lost
and transformed into harsh new symmetry,
she was not this moving famine or this frost
that wracks the world with its frigid ministry.
She imagines her leafgreen soul is what it cost
to pay for this unwanted eternity.
Still she dreams as she dances the sky apart
she’s not a damned storm hag with a stonecold heart.

She can’t see her own mad eyes, her ice-boned thighs.
In  dreams she’s one snowstar with a million more.
Sisters flown like white leaves across the skies
dancing a wind ballet on a cloudpaved floor.
She dreams the sodden snow is white butterflies
with life instead of death humming in their core,
choired clouds of frozen wings who’ve just begun
to live, melting in the early winter sun.
February 2011

Ice Age #5

 This poem is written in the ottava rima form, each stanza consisting of six lines of eleven syllables rhyming alternately, ending with a differently rhymed couplet. It is irregularly metered, but conforms to the eleven syllables per line format original to the Italian, though perhaps not to the Italian pattern of stresses. English ottava rima is often written in iambic pentamenter (10 syllables)as well. 

Ottava rima is traditionally used in the writing of heroic or mock-heroic work, from Boccaccio to Lord Byron to Yeats.

Title Image: Moonlight Kinetic, by Petteri Sulonen 
Many Thanks, Petteri

Footer Image: Ice Age #5, by Alex RK


  1. She seems to see instead a green alliance,
    herself a leaf that danced in dumb delight,
    ten million sister leaves her full reliance,

    smiles...i like the way she sees her self, though i am sad that is what it cost her...was it worth it? at least she still dreams herself the same life, in the white butterflies of snow....very cool form hedge...

  2. Thanks for introducing me to the Snow Spirit. Now she has a personality and backstory!

  3. Spectacularly wonderful writing, Joy. So many fabulous lines, my favorite: "But she's old and mad, her memory's often wrong." I love all of the pasts she wonders about, the sister leaves and snowflakes........this poem drew me right in. Loved it!

  4. she dreams the sodden snow is white butterflies.

    I enjoy her wonder at her own inevitable transformation- her questions exploring her own eternity. I'm glad you reposted this one, Hedge. it is deeply stunning.

    1. Thanks, Jane. It was really a lot of work, but also a lot of fun hammering this one out. Glad you enjoyed it.

  5. I hope you had a merry Christmas and I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year :)

    1. Thank you ayala, and the same to you and your family.

  6. You know I know some older people like this!

    An especially wonderful poem if one thinks of spring as the year's beginning (rather than the rather arbitrary January 1.) It actually fills me with a bit of fear - will I get like that? Can imagine it. Weighing down rather than lifting up. Lovely images of misconstruction and life/seasonal phases - from the leaves to the more amber bits to the frost again and soggy butterflies! I especially liked the cloudpaved floor. k.

    1. Well, it's a bit of dreaming of amalgamate identities, fate, and, of course, myth that carries so much on its back--I really was trying to create a character, and a narrative for her, and yes, I've met old people like this, too--but at least some dreams don't die, but rather are inevitably renewed.

    2. It's lovely. And hope the renewal is true. I believe in it in a grand scheme way, but not so sure about it on the individual level! (Agh.) Take care. K.

  7. I count myself lucky to get the chance to read this poem today! What an inspiration, Hedge. This is HUGE! It is a poetic achievement on a grand scale. I know you are in hiatus right now, but never stop writing. There are so many lines and word combinations that set off fireworks in my mind.
    All the best for the New Year.

    1. Thank you, Kerry, for the encouragement. I'm up in the wee hours scribbling something at the moment--had to stop to look something up. I'm so glad you found this one absorbing--ottava rima is a difficult form, especially the iambic pentameter, which just almost never comes naturally for me. But it makes for a lovely rolling cadence, I think.

    2. You also use it really well - a rolling cadence but not with the over-rollicking aspect. k.

  8. I wish that I had written this. Hell, I wish that I COULD have written this. Wow.

    1. Now you know how I feel. ;_) Thanks, MZ--good to see you, and Happy New Year.

  9. i remember this the first time you posted it and it left me just as breathless with another reading! and to form!!!

    what a sublime poem to end the year with, Joy!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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