Poem: Mirror

“Mirror, Mirror

On the wall

Who is fairest

Of them all?”

“She who sits upon her throne

In silence beckoning, would condone

The murder of a beauty fair

In cottage sleeping, with ash-black hair

Lips of red and skin snow-white

Then you might,

Then you might

Be the fairest

Of them all

If only White is first

to fall.”

“Mirror, Mirror

On the wall

Who is fairest

Of them all?”

“She who sits upon her throne

Weeping for what she must condone

The murder of a beauty fair

In cottage sleeping, with ashen hair

Skin curdled red

And weeping more

A dagger stuck inside the door

Between her head

And perfect chest

Agape with riotous

Protest.”

 

“Mirror, Mirror

On the wall

Who is fairest

Of them all?”

“You who sit

Upon your throne

The murder which

You did condone

Done at last

Without the slight

Of ugly guilt

To mar your pate

Once ’tis done

And mercy won

The heart of her devoured

Then you might be

Then you will be

Fairest lady,

Fairest lady.”

 

“Queen ‘o Queen

Asking me

‘Who is strongest

Of them all?’

Queen of riches, Queen of thorns

You who struck down with silver’d scorn

The murder of White you did condone

And now you sit upon your throne

All alone,

All alone

And so, fairest of them all

To be strongest, you must fall

For already you are there

And no one but yourself

Compares

To what you are

And how you are

And who you are

this day.”

 

“Mirror, Mirror

On the wall

How is it now

That I might fall?

I am strongest of them all

I am fairest too

I have power beyond the ken

That any mortal might do

I have knowledge of deepest sea

And slew my greatest enemy

In White who lay upon her floor

Blood to blossom

Nevermore.”

 

“Queen, o Queen

On your throne

To be dethroned once more

You would need to step down freely now

Or wait a while and then you’d see

That those you thought to murder once

Rise again in part

Because you thought to slay them dead

When they meant you no harm

Now to save yourself I fear

there is no spell or charm.

Poison’s work could make the quick

Of she who never died

(The assassin you sent to kill her

Has taken her

for

his bride).”

 

“Mirror, Mirror

On the wall

Where would poison be?

I’ve searched and searched and scratched and scrabbled

But find it not

Among the trees

Or leaves I have within my ‘bary

Scraped up from the depths

How might I cook this up

To serve my enemy?

Please o’ Mirror, tell me fast

Before she’s death

of me.”

“Queen o’ Queen,

Wolfsbane, shade of night

Are names that it does go by

Take both or one or none and mix

Them in a bowl most dry

Powder them up with eye of newt

And scales from spiderweb

Mix them free with snake’s tongue brew

And cook it till birds fall dead

From the sky

around

the pot.”

 

“Mirror o’ Mirror,

On the wall

The poison did the trick

Surely she’ll die now

Any day

It’ll take her to the quick

And black as dawn the moon will rise

To show a guilt-free heart in me

As fairest of them all

Without the Snow or White to creep

Up- To force my fall.”

 

“Queen o’ Queen,

Where you stand

A dagger from your assassin

Demands

To find its place

Inside your heart.

‘Ware! ‘Ware! From sleep do start!

To bury you inside the ground

He’ll ask me how your mortality is found

While you sleep and sleep away.

Queen o’ Queen, rise

Face this day!”

 

“Mirror, Mirror,

In this hall

How will this witch

Finally fall?

I’ve struck at her

While sleeping does

To her what all mortals

Must go through

I’ve stabbed her,

Tied her down and finally

Cut

Her tongue

In two.”

 

“Huntsman stay

And listen a tale

Before you kill this queen

For she has touched the reflection inside

This brittle old machine

Once I stood upon this wall

And showed her whom you’ve married

Be satisfied with going now

And with your hate all buried

Ask me only how to make

Your beauteous bride awaken

I pray thee this you take

And also the information

You sought as I cannot refuse:

The queen will fall when blade has plunged

Firmly

Into her heart. I pray thee never use

This to harm her.”

 

“Mirror ‘o Mirror,

Hanging here

Why should I not

Slay her there

Why should I not

Kill her quick

When so much misery

She’s wrought?”

 

“Hunstman stay

Thy hand and hear me

As I tell you now

The queen is scared

And lost

And alone

You have her in power, now

Leave with that

The knowledge of how

To slay her where she sleeps

Leave with that

The knowledge of how

To bring maiden back from death’s

cold keep.”

 

“Mirror o’ Mirror

Hanging there

Upon the wall

In silence fair

Tell me now!

When or how

I can bring her back

I care not for price

Or vice

That may ensue

For nothing will I lack

If she is with me

Once more.”

 

“Hunstman o’ huntsman

The foe you seek

Is not the queen who lies asleep

But rather Death inside his hall,

Who took your Snow and took your White

Together in one and away

To bring her back

A quarrel find

As black as night to day

Tie this quarrel to a rope

And with it load a bow in shape

Much like a cross

Fire it directly to the sky and lie

Down where it

Shall land

Let the bolt penetrate your heart

And grasp firm the rope in hand

Death will arrive to take your heart

And with it he’ll pull the rope

By grasping on away you’ll fly

And in Death’s kingdom, land.

If long be your rope

And strong be your heart

You’ll find her there for sure

Like Orpheo before you

The trials of hell, endured

You’ll return with maiden fair

And find your way by string.

Is all this exactly what you require

What more can this mirror bring

you

to assist this noble quest?”

 

“No more, no more,”

The hunstman says, his voice a choked up mess.

The dagger plunges to bury itself

Inside the queen’s poor chest.

The tip digs deep and pierces through

Her heart where she still lies.

Death, though not to huntsman visible

From the ground does rise

“Mirror o’ Mirror, tell me where

Death hath now appeared?”

“In front of you, fiend!” the Mirror cries

And breaks to a thousand shards.

The queen’s spell broken and the huntsman gone,

clutching

at Death so tightly

A man who once was a mirror golden

Now sits alone

And broken,

Shines brightly

No more.

 

Left there now in castle alone

A man like a mirror stands and cleans his old

Frame where once he hung and was hanged

Where still the pieces of him rang

As they dropped to a one on the floor

Shining and sparkling and glittering more

Than any light or flame in the house

In which not a thing will stir.

His eyes reflect upon that wall

And stare still at the woman of the hall

Whose body rests upon her chair

Or throne

Where she’d been sleeping there

Her eyes are closed forevermore

The life within without

The blood within her now cold heart

Has long since flowed in its great gout

And stopped.

Yet still he hears her voice to him, the words thought lost

Recovered

on a whim

And to him they echo again and again

Like voices

lost

in the wind:

 

“Mirror o’ Mirror,

On the wall.

In your memory

I will fall

To keep from you the blame withal

That threatens to swallow

me. None will know that you

Supplied me

With the weapons needed by me

None will know that you were my conspirator

co-founder of kingdoms

leader of all

from behind this throne

you’ve ruled with me-

In thanking you now

I set you free.”

 

In a castle

All alone

With a cross’d bow drawn

And a rope wrapped tight ‘round

A quarrel to the string

A man who was a mirror

Starts now to bring

The bow up straight and point

It at the sky-

Well anything,

after all

Is worth

one try.

 

©2013 Sam Oliver (Eris)

 

Longish poem I finished up this evening. I like the flow of it well enough. I think the imagery could stand a little strengthening, but it was loads of fun to write. What do you guys think?

-Eris

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