By Echolocation
Date: 2001 Jun 11
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Summer's Daughter, Winter's Bride

So carefree we were on that bright summer day
Wandering the green fields,
Poppies, snapdragons, daffodils,
marigolds, daisies, honeysuckle, clover,
Carpeting the soft meadow at our feet
Larks and mockingbirds calling each other
Sunlight warm and golden as honey pouring
from an infinity of blue above
Laughing, pelting each other with blossoms,
Falling at last to lie lazy in the long grass,
Desultory conversation fading to quiet even breathing

I awoke when a shadow fell - sunlight no longer warmed my skin
Opened my eyes and there he stood above me
A dark statue, carved of jet, gazing down at me
Bright summer's daughter, lying in his black shadow
His voice was deep enough to shake the earth itself
Though only a few words, and gently spoken
And tremble I did - but not from fear
Or, if so, only the new-awakened fear
Of being found unworthy in his eyes
Eyes of compelling fire yet black as remotest night
That asked only a single question
To which I was and always had been the answer
Neither one complete without the other
Like two halves of a walnut shell,
Twin souls parted and now suddenly re-met.

They say he stole me away -
Struggling screaming captive seized and dragged below,
Frightened and alone and unwilling...
Alone, yes, that part is true,
None of my merry high-hearted young companions
Willing to accompany me and my dark lover.
As for the rest - if it makes them less uneasy, let them have it so,
Limited souls afraid to conceive of such a love
The truth would be to them more frightening still:
Freely I followed, freely gave myself
Surrounded by him I blazed like a star
Glorying in the darkness that frames it
About me he was black velvet, the night sky
Given depth and beauty by my radiance

To his dark halls came neither day nor night,
Yet neither of these seemed to me a lack
The warmth of his regard was sunlight enough for me,
The darkness of his embrace the sweetest twilight
And the blaze of our passion outshone all the stars
Untouched by anything save each other
Hours, days, weeks ran together in a swift-falling stream
Oh, how I wanted it to go on forever,
All my hopes, wishes, dreams fulfilled there in his arms, his bed
Murmuring in my ear, "Only love me - love only me -
You will never have to leave my side."

Like a question and its answer
Neither one complete without the other
Like two halves of a walnut shell
Twin souls parted and now suddenly remet.

Wrapped in our happiness we did not know
that in the world above my mother wandered
Ragged, despairing, single-minded,
Turning her face from the world of men
Seeking only her beloved wayward daughter
Caring not that all growth ceased
Golden warmth fading to grey, green to barren brown,
Dead leaves scattered by a bitter wind
When at last she found us, my love and me,
I would not leave him, bade her turn and go
And since my mind was fixed, unwavering,
She had no choice but leave me with my lord

But just as a tree root may split a stone
So may a small thing change the path of a greater
A bowl of fruit sent to tempt my hunger
Came from her, filled with latent power
- One last effort to compel my return.
Unaware of hazard or hand of fate
I brought the pomegranate to my lips
Bit into the soft flesh so long untasted
As its sweetness spread across my tongue
There came unbidden longing thoughts of spring,
Leaves unfurling, apple blossoms, flowers
A desire to see the summer sun
Burnish with gold the liquid waves of wheat...
His hand rising too late to hold me, stop me
"Ah! What have you done?  Did I not warn you
Only of your own free will unfaltering
Could you remain?  And now you have chosen
Summer fruit, sunshine, blue skies and green growth..."
Only one bite, too late to spit it out
Sweetness now turned bitter with betrayal
Even as he spoke, all about me faded
Last of all, dark eyes filled with love and loss
Tearing at my heart as I prayed for mercy
Not to be torn from my truest love

For the six pomegranate seeds I swallowed -
So tiny a thing to cause such grief! -
I am held hostage for half the year
Six months I must walk in the summer sun
Listen to the lark, the mockingbird
Breathe deep the rich scent of growing things
But these will never again be enough,
For I carry his dark eyes deep within
Like a cool sanctuary in my heart
Cold snow relieving a fevered brow
Released the other six to go below
With him who holds my heart

Like a question and its answer
Neither one complete without the other
Like two halves of a walnut shell
Twin souls parted and now suddenly remet.