Odette

Evening, she comes
Softly, gently
Draping her dark silken mantle
Over a smouldering sky

And the world is silent –

But for whispering stars,
And murmurous waters
That steal their way
Through forbidden forests
Deep, with magic
and peril
And unspeakable sorrow.

And one,
Lonesome, enduring, beautiful
Tall and fair, swan-like
She stands at her window
Waiting
With slender arms
To embrace the moonlight.

The Queen of her castle
She stands,
Who cannot breathe
But at night.
There is comfort in darkness,
And there is freedom,
In the unseen
For her,
Centuries of waiting
Impassive, cold as stone,
That sun, nor
Fire could kindle
Tears, long-dried
Yet stained her pallid cheeks
And she waited, still
Alone, at her window
In the highest tower.
A wondrous place it was, they said,
One felt one could almost fly-
So lofty and proud!

Like her who was within
Prisoner of one man’s pride.
She could not fly

Nor stir her wings,
Her eyes, her soul
For fear
That Light would betray
Her sad, sad heart
And the secrets that dwelt
Therein

But when the Moon rode high
And fairy light bathed the land
In pale splendor
So she at the window, washed
In clean silver
Limpid, eyes like glittering stars
And hair, rippling slivers of white
She rose from stoic sleep
Stretched her bare arms like great wings, white as snow
And drunk of moonlight
Till, inebriated, she was
But a dancing beam, a jewel,
Diana, bright, in silver livery
A bird, fair and lissome, a lily
Light of heart,
Of spirit free
She flew,
Far, far away
She flew
From the tower of stone
From the woods, dark and deep
And him,
To whom she belonged

With wind on her wings, she soared
That whimsical Queen of moonlit nights
To the flightiest corners of fancy
She flew
Over lakes, and seas
Glimmering with secrets
And deserts, and valleys
And high open places
Where he could not see her
And she, veiled, elusive as the willowy beams
Unseen
And unafraid.

And then, as sky
Melted into grayness
And the moon, slowly dissolved
In rising dawn
She remembered
Sharply, painfully
The terrible fear
That possessed her
That bound her in
Black eternity
To that tower of stone
To the castle
And him
To whom she belonged
His Queen, her Master
And she, glorious white swan,
Soaring to heaven
At dusk fall,
Day, after day,
Fades to reality.
Lovely, white, tragic
Locked in her cage
Her world, of cold grey stone
Locked in eternal vow
To him.
And he laughs
Thirstily, and his eyes
Flash with sinister passion
He looks at her
And, shrinking, pale and fragile
Snared, helpless bird
She, is his
Forever.


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