(after Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter)
I lie down in my little room, my ghost limbs restless on stiff sheets.
Where the moonlight filters green, I know he is waiting beneath the yew tree.
Through the small snowed-up window I can see Cancer flicker in a crystal sky.
Neither the walls of the hut nor the roof can keep out his fearsome spell or
can dispel my fancy that I am myself
no longer woman. No longer flesh but merely
moonlight, gliding along the spires and ridges of rooftops towards a cold constellation, east
of the mountains, through the white valleys.
Note:- the lines in italics were written by Ritter, the rest by myself. This is an example of a coupling poem where a section of prose is reworked into a new poem by responding/echoing each line. I wrote it as part of the NaPoWriMo challenge. The aim is to write a poem every day in April, National Poetry Month.
It was not an ordinary day.
The east wind sparked salt and I awoke
to dreams of the unicorn. My old bones
rolled the waves and the falcon’s shadow
shifted. I knew what I must do.
Down Fast Eddie I chased the Dragon’s Tail,
surfed by leafy isles, rested in deepening
pools a while, glimpsed churches, spiraling treetops,
salmon swimming through castle walls.
I passed beneath Ness Bridge unseen.
It was the end of an ordinary day. So at So Coco
the waitress wrapped sweet fancies in tissue twists
as the last customer licked cappuccino
from his lips. At The Mustard Seed the chef marinaded
for dinner. At the Victorian Market they folded
tartan as gates clanged and the clock chimed.
In Falcon Square the piper belched away his ale
saw my passing. No-one saw the unicorn
Note 1:- The Loch Ness Monster is a mythical aquatic creature reputed to dwell deep in the cold waters of Loch Ness near Inverness in Scotland. There have been numerous sightings and photographs showing a curvaceous beast rising out of the grey waves.
Note 2:- The unicorn is Scotland’s national animal. A statue of a unicorn is located in Falcon Square, a landmark in the centre of the city of Inverness.