an old fairytale from 2012
The art is Arthur Rackham - Princess and Troll
The Troll’s Wife
I’ve lived, for what seems ages,
under a wooden bridge
with my constant husband.
He is a troll.
I have been enchanted, spellbound,
but no longer.
and found his magick book
and while he slept
unwove each charm
I let him bind around me.
I don’t know how this came to be,
this sorry state of wedlock.
No – that’s a lie.
I remember it well.
grown to a stupid woman,
a willing victim
never understanding there are those
who play with people:
out of ego, spite at life
or mere amusement.
I wandered blindly,
always ready to taste
the sweet but meeting only the sour.
He stood, not as a troll
but as a dashing figure
full with mystery and tempting words
and I believed them.
The stupid woman – me –
gulped greedily at each burnt-sugar tidbit,
never noticing the aftertaste of brimstone.
the twists and turns a maze,
so dizzying I was often like to fall down dazed.
And when I did no helping hand was offered.
stumbling onward, always following,
even when the creature left me standing in the dark.
me limping in my muddied rags.
It seems a lifetime that it took to reach it
but that cannot be, for I am not so aged.
Once he pulled me safely underneath
that moss-stained wood
off fell his cloak:
the troll revealed in all his dark scarred skin.
I thought I could reclothe him in the costume
he’d worn out in the world.
But as is always true in fairy tales,
once the black and hairy imp’s exposed
there’s no rehabilitation.
and never with true candor;
and even in his silences
or off about his murky business
he was watching, watching, watching.
I worked for him.
I tried to keep his house,
built of nothing but bravado and regret,
from falling into crazed disrepair.
I plastered, patched and painted:
a madwoman in a dream.
I have at last awakened from enchantment.
From some dim cave of memory
my own abandoned magic returns.
I’ve written my finis to this grimoire of folly.
I’ve found again my own dark starry cloak
he’d slyly hidden.