Fractal Myth

Fantasy Poems

Fairytale Romance.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
A lonely princess in an ivory tower
Saw far below, a prince in armour bright.
He rode straight through her blossom perfumed bower
While never noticing the lovely sight.
If only he had stopped to pick a flower,
And recognized the off'rings of delight!
The prince, howe'er, had other things in view-
To worldly aims he'd vowed he would be true.

The handsome prince rode by on prancing steed,
Admiring his reflection in his shield.
He did not see the princess in her need,
But dreamed of armies meeting in the field.
To fight and win in battle was his creed-
To force the foe to bend his knee and yield.
Then suddenly a bolt of lightning fell,
And this poor prince no longer felt so well!

The princess rushed to offer him her aid,
And he, in turn, was dazzled by her looks.
She was, in truth, a very comely maid,
Such as they write about in fairy books.
He shivered, feeling suddenly afraid
To think that she now had him in her hooks.
With magic skill she raised him from the earth,
And stripped the armour from his manly girth!

He tried to struggle as a hero should,
But found that he was helpless as a child.
She dragged him off into a nearby wood,
And had her way with him there in the wild.
He had not thought it possible she could
Be so assertive, when she looked so mild.
And so he learned the moral of this tale-
To look around when in a pleasant vale!

For if the prince had only raised his head,
Instead of contemplating future strife
He might have spent the night in a soft bed,
Watched over by his loving future wife,
Where now he lies alone and, blushing red,
Wonders about the meaning of his life!
Beneath the ivory tower the pale prince sits,
Attempting to recover his lost wits!

The princess knows her prince is waiting there.
She softly smiles, and weaves her mystic charms.
She plans to keep him waiting 'neath her lair,
'Till he'll no longer heed the world's alarms,
Or sniff the scent of battle in the air,
But dream of naught save her, held in his arms.
When an enchanted princess chooses you,
There's really very little you can do!!!


Nightmare Alice.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
"I once read it in a book," said Alice,
"but it didn't seem to make a lot of sense.
All the little words flew round like silly birds
and would not keep inside their proper tense!"

"The Caterpillar told me," said Alice,
"to keep my temper and not to get upset.
I know I'd stay sane, if I could just remain
myself, but I haven't managed that yet."

"The Cheshire Cat smiled sweetly," said Alice,
"but it's hard to smile at a floating head.
I'll drown in my tears, or succumb to my fears
rather than trust a word that creature said!"

"But trust is all there is now," said Alice,
"because things are very strange and I'm quite lost.
I can't find my way, and there's nothing to say
when summer flowers are killed by the frost."

"They're painting the roses," said Alice,
"The flow'rs that once were red will soon be white.
It's really a shame, I've forgotten my name...
Moonshine gives such a soft, enchanting light!"

"I just don't understand it." said Alice,
"Life seemed so simple and quiet to me then.
But now that has changed, and I feel quite deranged.
So complex are the ways of mice and men!"

"I shouldn't really be here," said Alice,
"but I must have realised that before I came.
Now, like it or not, I've accepted my lot,
and there is no-one but myself to blame."

"I'm burning all my memoirs," said Alice,
"before this topsy-turvy world corrupts them.
I followed my will, while you sat very still,
and now you're dead, but I am the phantom!"

"Ghosts aren't supposed to stay here," said Alice,
"but despite it all, I find I want to live.
Although you are gone, the world will still go on,
and surely I have something left to give!"

"Perhaps you could have taught me," said Alice,
"how to recognise the path that led me wrong.
All is upside down, and your smile is a frown
that echoes in my mind just like this song."


Phoenix.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
Born again
when the flames
have died.

Mother love
gave herself to the fire
so her child could live.

Egg in the ashes
cracks open.
New birth.

Shining golden.
Mythical creature
flies to the sun.

Dreaming of
perfect communion
with her equal.

Aspiration.
Inspiration.
Admiration.
Imagination.

Falling to earth
with singed wings,
she surrenders.

Her burning need
consumes her.
She is gone.

Egg in the ashes
cracks open.
New birth.

Mother love
gave herself to the fire
so her child could live.

Born again
when the flames
have died.


At the Bottom of the Garden.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
I was sitting in
my garden on a sunny
afternoon, when I
glimpsed a beautiful fairy
fluttering among the leaves.

An innocent sprite
dancing joyfully with a
vibrant butterfly.
I held my breath and listened
to the music of the spheres.

Her gown was spun from
softest spider-silk, which she
had brightly coloured,
by dipping it in spectral
hues beyond the rainbow's end.

When their dance ended,
the fairy alighted near
a sward of blue-bells.
They chimed when she shook their stems,
playing a sweet melody.

As night fell, she curled
under a broad-brimmed toadstool,
warm and safe from harm.
I knelt down to watch her sleep,
amazed at her tiny home.

A perfumed petal
was her blanket, her mattress
made from thistle-down.
I thanked God for my garden,
and her song was in my prayer.


Thoughts of a Gothic Maiden.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
I wait, transfixed, watched by the moon's blue face -
Distorted by her queer and eery light,
Thick clouds of dark-winged bats fly through the sky.
With mournful cries, dread owls join in the chase,
And haunted, howling wolves slink through the night
In search of lonely, fearful folk, like I.

He promised he would meet me near the lake.
Oh, say this is a dream, and I will wake.

My heart with my wild thoughts keeps frantic pace.
Untrustworthy, my limbs refuse to flee.
Strange wisps of cloud waft into a fine lace
To veil the moon's face, so I cannot see -
And if I were to vanish without trace,
I wonder whether he would wait for me?


Cinderella.

[Michelle Whitehead ©2006]
Cinderella was sad:
her stepmother was mad,
and her stepsisters thought
that she wasn't their sort.

As they dressed for the Ball,
she must run to their call ~

"Bring those silk stockings, quick!"

"Oh, Mum, I'm feeling sick!"

"Don't you worry, my dear,
he'll choose you, never fear."

"Cinders, where are you now?
Find my shoe, lazy cow!"

"Don't you think I look great?
He'll choose me for his mate!
And then when I am queen,
all the girls will be green."

Cinders flew to and fro,
curled this hair, tied that bow,
hid her tears deep inside,
for they teased when she cried.

"Cinders, why do you weep?
You're not earning your keep!
Hold that mirror for me.
Don't you look ~ you're ugly!
You would make the glass crack.
See those rags on your back?"

"Girls, it's time. We must go.
Hear the carriage below?
Cinders, we'll be back late.
Sweep the floors, clean the grate.
There's dry bread for your tea.
Come now, girls, follow me."

As they rushed through the door,
Cinders felt so heartsore.
How she prayed she could go.
She wished she, too, could glow
like a star. Oh, to dance
and to dream of romance.
So she swirled 'round the room
with her partner ~ the broom!

She imagined her gown,
soft and white as swan's down,
with flowers in her hair
and her face clean and fair,
'stead of smudged with black soot.

She looked down at her foot
and she laughed at the thought
of herself at the Court,
with the fash'nable girls
wearing diamonds and pearls.

Then she heard a strange sound
and quickly turned around.

In her total surprise,
Cinders rubbed at her eyes.
"Who are you?" she inquired,
thinking she must be tired
and was caught in a dream.

"I am just who I seem,"
said the lady so bright
who appeared from the night,
"your fairy godmother.
Now, stop all this bother.
Your wishes I will grant:
'though you think that you can't,
to the Ball you will go ~
be the belle of the show."

"But I've work here to do."

"I will do that for you."

With a look that was fond,
the fairy waved her wand,
and the room sparkled clean.

"Next, it's you we must preen,
so sit back and relax
while I just check my facts.
First the bath, then the dress,
then your hair, and ~ oh, yes!
You'll need a carriage too.
There's so much still to do!
I will make you look nice.
Get me six pet white mice,
and bring that pumpkin here.
Don't look worried, my dear.
I have done this before!
You'll enjoy it, I'm sure."

Cinders did as she asked,
wondering at her task.
So surreal it all seemed~
she was sure that she dreamed!
Then the fairy's wand waved,
and the things Cinders' craved
all suddenly appeared.

Cinders found it quite weird
and magically strange
to see the pumpkin change
into a golden coach,
a shiny black cockroach
turned into a driver
who bowed down before her,
while her pet mice became
a team of horses tame,
who nuzzled at her hair.

"What would you like to wear?
I think a dress of white lace
would suit your pretty face."

Cinders blushed and looked down,
then she said with a frown,
"You're making fun of me.
I know I'm not pretty."

"Take a look for yourself~
you're an enchanting elf!"

Cinders looked with delight,
not believing her sight.
She looked like a princess~
there were gems on her dress
and rosebuds in her hair,
but her feet were still bare.

"I almost forgot ~ there's
a pair of glass slippers
to fit your tiny feet."

They were lovely and neat,
and they fitted just right.

"Now I can dance all night!"

"No, that would be tragic.
You see, dear, my magic
at midnight sharp will end.
Remember, little friend,
you must leave in good time
'fore midnight starts to chime."

Cinders quickly agreed
that this warning she'd heed.
The fairy cast her spell,
wished Cinderella well,
and vanished in a spark
that left the room quite dark.

Cinders left for the Ball
feeling queenly and tall,
but when she reached the gate
she wondered at her fate~
bedecked in bright flowers
with three golden hours
to dance and be merry,
her lips red as cherry,
eyes sparkling like stars.
Some beauty comes from jars
but hers was enchanted~
her wishes were granted.

The trumpets sounded loud.
They alerted the crowd,
who all turned to marvel
at the new arrival.

Cinderella floated
past those who had gloated
and laughed at her sorrow.
She would laugh tomorrow.
Right now, she was nervous,
and terribly conscious
all eyes were upon her.

She saw her stepmother
and stepsisters wond'ring,
furtively whispering,
"Who is she?" "Do you know?"
"Her skin shines like moonglow!"

She passed them. They curtsied.
A strange change 'twas indeed!
They'd not recognised her ~
she looked so much finer
than their forlorn Cinders,
with smudged face and fingers.

The Prince came downstairs.
They gave themselves airs,
but he looked right through them,
his eyes on this new gem.

Cinderella's shy glance
as they started to dance
told the Prince what he'd guessed ~
there was more in her breast
than gossip and flirting.
Her eyes spoke of hurting,
and her hands of hard work.
She was not one to shirk
her duty for mere fun.
He knew she was the one!

Prince Charming was transfixed,
but Cinders' joy was mixed
with worry and concern.
Her cheeks began to burn.
She knew her hands were rough
and silk gloves weren't enough
to hide their dismal state.
Romance would have to wait ~
the Prince was sure to know
and so she turned to go,
but found her hand held tight.

"It is my royal right,"
Prince Charming insisted,
"though her hands are blistered,
to dance with whom I choose
and I refuse to lose
this chance to be with you.
So, now what will you do?"

"I cannot stay for long.
I'm sure this must be wrong.
That you should dance with me ~
I think this shouldn't be."

"Why? Tell me who you are?"

"I'm no-one. Not a Tsar,
or Sultan or King's child."

The Ball was getting wild
and privacy was rare
for this romantic pair.
He led her through the crowd,
who laughed and chattered loud.

Under the silent moon
the Prince began to spoon,
calling Cinders 'his love',
'his precious turtle-dove'.
Cinders felt this was fine ~
his words sparkled like wine
and filled her to the brim
with loving thoughts of him.
They sat upon the porch,
lit by a single torch,
and pledged undying faith.
Cinders felt like a wraith ~
none of this could be real.
It had too nice a feel
to be happ'ning to her.

Then she heard the clock whirr
as it started to chime
and she looked at the time
with her heart in her mouth,
Her hopes vanishing south,
the Prince she evaded
as all magic faded.

She fled from the castle
after a short tussle
that left Prince Charming dazed,
bewildered and amazed.
He rushed madly around,
but no girl could be found.

A glass slipper, like ice,
and six snowy white mice
sat near a large pumpkin.

"I'm a country bumpkin!"
Prince Charming lamented.
His pride had been dented.

He siezed the glass slipper
then, feeling more chipper,
he sent all his guests home
and his troops out to roam
the fields and the furrows,
the hedges and burrows.
Still no carriage was seen ~
not a clue could they glean
of that fair maiden's name.

Soon her beauty and fame
were the talk of the town.
Rumours flew up and down,
while every girl's dreams put
a glass shoe on her foot,
and a Prince at her side
claiming her for his bride,
but only one true heart
felt Cupid's shining dart
and only her wet eyes
hinted at her disguise.

Her stepsisters were bored.
They felt they'd been ignored,
so they sulked and they teased
and refused to be pleased.
Then the herald arrived ~
to fit the shoe they strived,
but their feet were too huge
and they blushed through their rouge.

"Oh, dear Sire, I'm afraid
we cannot find the maid."
said the men to their Prince.
(He'd not been the same since
that fine night at the Ball
and it worried them all.)

"She is still here, I know."
said the Prince, soft and low.
"Have you tried everyone?"

They said they had missed none,
but the Prince did not care:

"Try again. Don't despair."

So they took the glass shoe
and squeezed feet black and blue
without any new luck.

Cinders' stepsister stuck
her foot in so tightly
they all feared, quite rightly,
it would never come out.
Cinders heard their loud shout
and her stepsister yelp,
so she came down to help.

The herald was surprised.
He had just been advised
there was nobody more
whom the shoe could be for.
He asked Cinders to try,
thinking she was too shy,
but the fit was exact!
No denying the fact ~
though her stepsisters tried:
tore their hair out and cried.

Cinders' good fairy friend
came to them in the end.
She explained to the Prince
all that had happened since
Cinderella was born.
Then her stepsisters' scorn
the happy pair forgave,
as the Prince, strong and brave,
took Cinders for his wife,
and the rest of their life
(to make up for her pain)
was a fairy-tale reign!
Happy ever after ~
blessed with love and laughter.


Song for Saira.

[Michelle Chapman ©2002]
I've never seen the night-market at Marrakech,
never hung on the exotic odour of spices
in heavy honeyed air.

Nor have you
except in dreams.

I see you weaving through
the splash of bazaar
superimposed on
whitewashed walls,
terracotta tiles.

"Mirrors ... masks ...
come buy ... come buy ..."
hawker's howl
eclipses
his hound's.

Full moon,
deep shadows.

Robed in rainbow silks,
wrists and ankles silver-belled,
your back is straight; your hair
long ~ black ~ curling
(like when we were kids).

You reach the open centre.

Smoke swells to fill the clearing;
sparks fly.

To wailing pipes, hypnotic drums,
you twirl
in a swirl of colour
shedding silk in autumnal abandon.

Violet first,
colour of balance,
settling on off-white sand.
Indigo, unfathomable as midnight,
tossed to the sky.
Blue for infinite possibilities.
Green for regeneration of life.
Yellow for light that cannot be darkened.
Orange for faithful constancy...
layer after layer
falls at your feet
'til only a thin red shift remains.

Red for fire, for the blood of passion,
flickering sheath of flame.

Discarding the final layer,
you drift away;

your Morrocan slippers dancing
in the trees,
the wind,
the song of birds;

...no mask
...no mirror
...know you.



Noli Me Tangere.

[Michelle Chapman ©2002]
The title comes from Thomas Wyatt's poem 'Whoso list to hunt' (1557). It is Latin for 'Touch me not'.
The old man's lorikeets
like sugar.

He twirls around
his kitchen
a slippered
beer-bellied
Rudolph Nureyev.

Does she?
(like sugar)

His hand darts out
tobacco brown
palm up
two cubes.

She reaches,
too slow.

No,
like the lorikeets,
he says.

She smiles
shakes her head.

Hand out
palm up
two cubes.

She
lips grasping
tries not to touch
flesh.

He
stretches to
stroke
hair.

She flies.


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