Cover

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The trials which have smothered you and frozen all your dreams

(Those icy fingers down your spine unraveled all your seams)

Are burdens which you never sought; indeed, you begged them gone,

And yet, they linger dawn to dusk, and dusk to weary dawn.

But Pilgrim, lift your tired head, and brace your feeble knees;

For lessons learned in schools of pain are not like schools of ease –

What humbled heart and broken bones with faith can start to grow

Is rather like the evergreen made beautiful by snow.

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Stand

dreamy tree

You’ve watched them fade, these fragile dreams you sowed

when innocence was freshly minted, the shade

of spring meadows. Just when they felt full-grown,

they yellowed, curled, leaves from an ancient and

shabby book. You lost your grip;

now they lie scattered at your feet, crisp in their

brokenness. You could have died with them – no one

would have blamed you if you had joined your fallen

comrades in all their ashen stillness. Yet here you

stand, head high, arms outstretched,

hands open, expectant. You are an oak,

sinewy and solid. Storms have toughened your skin,

stiffened more than your upper lip,

rooted you in profound places. And I think,

perhaps,

that if you can stand tall after all you’ve lost,

I could stand, too.

I, Rapunzel

Rapunzel

I, Rapunzel, clutched the tighter to my golden mane;

You, the wooer, prince and fighter, struggled to unchain

All those strands that held me captive to the distant past;

Strangled hopes and maladaptive dreams I had amassed

Like treasure chests with broken stocks, reduced by time to rust;

Death had killed my golden locks, and crumbled them to dust.

‘Let down your hair!’ your battle cry resounded in the dark;

But tendons tightened, terrified of barren branches; stark

My thoughts, unclothed my heart, as hope dared warm my blood;

One by one upon the start, and then a torrent flood

Descended in a golden cloud, until I stood unveiled –

Beneath my feet, a golden shroud, where former visions paled.

And now I wait, a bare-skinned maid, my Prince has won me fair;

For with the spring, I’ll grow new braids, fresh dreams will crown my hair.