Madam White Snake
by Deborah Walker
At evening tide her spirit sisters gather outside Leifeng Pagoda.
They beg Madam White Snake to shed the prison of her flesh
and rejoin them in their endless dances.
Madam White Snake shakes her head
and reties the garment of time around her body.
Through the window of the pagoda
she sees a heron swimming in low beats
in the water of the sky,
flying low over the West Lake reeds.
When she extends her snake eyes, she can see
the liquid ballet of the stem fish in the slow moving current.
Madam White Snake smiles as she watches the myriad dances
of the glass nameless ones,
their bodies shaped in simple patterns,
their voices joined in the water song.
“Sister. We miss you. Cast off your flesh. Rejoin us, our sister.”
Madam White Snake closes her heart to her spirit sisters.
She watches the eternal dances she has found
in the multiple layers of this evening’s day.
Madam White Snake has tasted the slow complex web of flesh.
She will never let it go.
And if her sisters could view the swimming, nameless one inside her,
perhaps they would understand.
Image is Fan and Snake by Ella Guru.
First published in Moon Drenched Fables 2010
Deborah Walker loves dreamy, dark poetry. Her heroes are Christina Rossetti and Jacqueline West. Find Deborah’s poems in Scifaikuest, Apex Magazine, Dreams and Nightmares and Paper Crow.
Where do you get the ideas for your poems?
When I write poetry, I just unhinge my mind and let the ideas flow and blend. 'Blossom' came from three threads, the prompt from Megan, sitting in my garden and seeing the cherry tree in blossom, and a medieval ring I'd seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum. A lot of ideas for my fantasy poetry and stories come from museum objects.