The Woman of Wax
In the hour of waning moonlight,
When in wiles the darkness purrs,
Winding down the paths of shadow,
Wending in the woods of firs,
While in cusp of midnight hushing,
When no longer waking lures,
In the woods of watching dark
The well in murmurs stirs.
Wisps of dreams, forgotten wishes,
Slipped with coin and bric-a-bracs
Long ago into the well
By maids with hair of winsome flax,
Rises in the witching hour
From the depths of inky glass,
Deep within the whispers swell
Softly, of the woman of wax.
A tale in woven ways of telling
In a time when woods were home,
In those days a castle rampart
Soared with flags within the dome
Of a sky winged blue in warming,
When the woods were soft with brome,
Before the maid was taken, wantoned,
And the tower swallowed in gloam.
Whispered over well in sunlight,
Dropping wish in whimsy stream,
The girl upon the dawn of woman
Swept in whims of true love dream.
Yet in the darkest heart of castle
Lord felt all was to his deem,
Wedded her in wilds of forest –
Wrested from her skirted seams.
Weighted with the flow’ring maiden
The spindle of the wishing well
Hung with more than rope and bucket,
Wreathed the neck of milky belle.
Her feet of waxy stillness pointed
To the glass of mirror tell,
Broke the wood of weighted spindle;
Followed where her wishes fell.
They found her slipped beneath the pool,
A waxy face in cooling deep.
Pulled her from the wishing water;
Clasped her waking eyes in sleep.
Her face was perfect, willed in form
Of waxen lips and eyes that weep
With nothing more than well-sprung water
Wending with a wish to keep.
The seasons turn as weeks wear fast
Until at last the moon’s white rays
Wither in the wasting winter,
Weaving clouds to weary gray.
The duke was hunting with a party
Set to win the winding play,
Too far he went, too deep in wood
And vanished in the waning day.
When at last the streams awoke,
Spring laughing at dark winter’s end,
Then at last they found the body
Washed in icy river bend.
They say he fell beneath the water,
Trapped below, in frozen penned,
But for prints upon his feet
As fingers pulling down would rend.
In the dark of witching hour,
When in depths of inky glass,
Deep within the well will ripple
Woman’s face of winsome wax.
I’m actually quite fond of this one, but it needs a serious overhaul before I post it for real. I have this idea for an envelope around the main ghost story, involving a young man who wanders into the wood despite the warnings from the local villagers (hey look, that “w” thing is catching). I’ve actually written a few enormously confusing verses for the idea, which I will allow you to read here:
Whistling broke the wearing darkness,
Lightly treading step and soon
A young man, whittling, deft of fingers,
Walking through the watching gloom.
The village, come upon at twilight
Set against the woods of hewn
Warned the youth no longer forward
With the threat of wasting moon.
The young man laughed upon the telling
Savored what the village warned
Of the girl who slept in water,
Of her waxen face forlorned.
He set and turned with whirling surge
His confidence in youth so borne,
His quick and handsome face to set,
His willful courage: wasted, mourned.
Yet slowly as the whiling time
Led him deeper in the wood
The dark crept watchful up the neck
Of wayfare’s feet the prickling could
Of eyes with cautious sense he swept
His gaze to see what witness stood
To hear his whistling further hush
As hands in whittling would.
He saw her when the welt of moon
Slipped behind the welling clouds…
Etc. etc. etc.
You can tell I was getting lazy with my rhythm – I sort of threw sentence structure overboard to try and work in both the alliteration and the rhyme. My only excuse is that I wrote this a couple of years ago (one of the fun things about reading my old material is realizing that I’ve actually gotten better over time). If I ever want this to work, I’d need to revamp half the lines just to make them cohesive.
But, at the very least, it makes for a deceptively long blog post. In other news, I’ve been trying to finish an illustration project for my brother-in-law. Which is an absolute time-eater, let me tell you. While I can draw, I actually find that I don’t often want to. Though it’s deeply satisfying to have an end product I’m proud of, the process isn’t fun for me – mostly because I so rarely manage an end product that I’m proud of. Sorry, Slick.
Anyways, to finish this off, here’s a horse with a gas mask:
Just what you needed more of in your life.