The Eyes of Winter

Location

Germany

I

 

 

Once upon the white wings of winter’s majesty
Dwelt there, the solemn woes of lovely tragedy
How all I ever was and could be was lost
In young, promised eyes of lazuli frost

For purpose found I, ensnared within their sight
How innocence beckoned the blackest white
My greatest sin, I prostrate to indifferent stars above
Was nothing more than to give death my love

 

Beckoning the beginning, we first entreat my origin

Eldest of a Lord’s two girls, Summer I was born therein

Resolute and stoic, careful in thought

My younger sister was everything I was not

Beautiful and willful, charming and warm

She was a true Lady, regal Autumn in form

For reasons unknown, I was given over to the Faith

While next to a Count was the fairer sister’s true place

 

Years passed and she endured such splendor

As I studied scripture in a candlelit chamber

Her wedding to the Count was a fine, though gaudy, affair

Summer in chaste robes, Autumn with extravagant flair

I was happy for her, all envy in me reviled

To see my sweet sister glow brightly with child

Yet disaster is to follow us like a hound of the abyss

First as the Count welcomed Lady Death’s cruel kiss

 

Anointed in the Faith, I led the funeral procession

Carriages at length, my pregnant sister in possession

But that night the Autumn sun set eternally in red

When from the darkness returned a face thought dead

Our carriage in ruins, an eldritch assault from beyond

Left me paralyzed in anguish, unable to respond

But her hand touched mine, she was yet still alive!

“Bring my light into this world, I refuse to die.”

 

My sobbing controlled me, charnel darkness surrounding

Resounding, my selfishly beating heart was pounding

I breathed, Autumn’s whispers calmed my burning vision

With saintly purpose, I made my cesarean incision

In this tragic moonlit night, I delivered my niece, quiet and frail

An angel born of death, divine skin a wintry pale

My Autumn’s eyes welled to behold her in their fading sight

And with her fleeting, final breath she whispered “Snow White...”

 

II

 

What nightmares birth themselves from virgin dreams

Menace the soul infinitely more than coming darkness seen

The terrors I awoke to in those subsequent years

Whispered of ravenous graves and unliving fears

Of a child lost amid a winter eternal

Of an unlikely new mother, prey to the nocturnal

So as the somber leaves fell on Autumn’s new grave

It was difficult to resist becoming grief’s newest slave

 

But the parting gift that I held bundled in my protection

Was evidence enough of some divine interjection

What ugly heresy I found in myself to despise

Was silenced by Snow White, with her lazuli eyes

At an early age she was no fool to the twists of life

How everything is fleeting, even happiness and strife

But that didn’t stop her; no, it even encouraged her mission

To bring unity to the world with sincere ambition

 

Though Snow White lacked for health and elegance

She made up for in wit, joy, and innocent eminence

Though heiress to an estate of treasured exception

She remained in the Sanatorium under my protection

She learned letters and theology under my patient guidance

While charming the other children in her deathless defiance

Still I worried, with maladies begging her heart to fail

Ever aware of the shadow lurking just beyond the veil

 

Yet solstice night drew me sputtering and seething

To giggling voices that should have been dreaming

But what massacre I fell upon collapsed me to my knees

A dark maiden in center, seven children a restless, red sea

Shadows of corpse-puppets danced and twitched upon the plaster

As the reanimated circled and sang to their unhallowed master

I didn't want to understand, admit, or recognize

The raven hair, pale skin, or kind, lazuli eyes

 

The girl I had held while her mother lay dying

Every song I had sang to her to ease her crying

Countless prayers now unworthy to remember

All impotent ash among cold, dying embers

The childish face I had kissed just hours before

Was gone and replaced by bewitching contour

Her baptism in blood and necromantic sin

Unbound the true heiress slumbering within

 

III

 

From her unholy solstice night and onward forevermore

I held nothing but contempt for the love I cursedly bore

Away in deep crypts I locked away the seven, twitching undead

And removed all trace of that night, scrubbing away the persistent red

The blame of the missing children I laid at the feet

Of the local Vicar, my friend, in such shameful deceit

I stood by with sealed lips as they carted him away

To the gallows where he was hanged at the summit of day

 

My niece Snow White, how I wanted to stake her bloodless heart!

Showed me only laughter and love as her time came to depart

Her hands possessed the coldest touch, the darkest reach

That eternally strangled and tore apart my dreams

She commanded unnatural elegance and charismatic gravity

That perfectly concealed her wintry wickedness and deathly depravity

I had thought once to envenom an apple, her favorite of sweets

But the sultry smile she shared saw through all deceit

 

How loathe I was to bring harm to the niece I had reared

From infant to maid, through all those warm, loving years

How it broke me to accept the truth, how harrowing its bite

That the Snow White I loved had died that solstice night

How hollow and profane the prayers felt on my lips

As faint scratchings echoed nightly from the crypts

How profound the ink felt against the roaring of thunder

That summoned forth the only solution: a paleblood Hunter

 

Masked and unnerving, the Hunter understood his mark

After silencing the little hands scratching in the dark

To me he gave a hand-mirror, its purpose arcane

To reflect only those without blood in their veins

For their curse is contagion, relentless and dour

Ensnaring all until all are devoured

But this instilled no closure, nor calm nor relief

For suffering and fear betrothed are life’s sole motif

 

Yet as the years waxed and my remaining time waned

Whispers on the wind carried two unfortunate names

For years, vile things were said behind my back

“It’s not just beauty, but also a heart she lacks”

Gossip alleged that my mad jealousy compelled

My niece to escape to the estate her parents once held

I couldn’t ignore it, her haunted name bound me tight

“They say her hair is raven, and her skin snow white”

 

IV

 

Once upon the frozen tears of pallid melancholy

Silenced me with wretched pangs of mortal folly

How could such evil exist within the soul of devotion?

To wordlessly succumb to necrotic erosion

As the northern gales conjured demons of violent tempests

To welcome home the master of death, the wintry temptress

Struck from the sky, the dying sun’s heart slows, embittered

In its last moments, the world collapses in irresistible shiver

 

Hollow I had become, a corpse living to await the end

Bleeding from this betrayed heart that refused to mend

The dreams that plagued me despite the numbing incense

Smothered innocence in such youth defenseless

The Summer that once lived was naught but a sinner

Condemned to the depths of an endless winter

Yet as I sought to obliterate this pointless, mortal form

There came three swift knocks to my chamber door

 

The Hunter entered, it seemed his journey had met its end

A puppet he became, his own bloody hearts, lifeless in hand

Listlessly I listened, his puppet words entreating and abetting

That I sail at once to attend the solstice’s royal wedding

The crown Prince found within the lazuli eyes I feared

A love immortal, sealed within a casket of mirrors

I laughed uncontrollably, yet tears refused to fall

For they froze to my cheeks in the morbid, glacial pall

 

The beauty of the palace left me utterly breathless

As ice clung to the edges of opulent parapets

Bishops and priests, merchants and ladies, lords and knights

The world’s power in attendance, entrancing and bedight

The marionette Hunter struck down the illusion, a conquest sincere

Of every surrounding person, unliving, reflected in my mirror

A gala of ruin awaiting, sown from seeds of madness akin

To nightmares sought, nurtured in horror, and harvested in sin

 

Then I saw her, vermillion lips upon a deathmask divine

She was the epitome of perfection, with smiling, lazuli eyes

She knelt to kiss my frail hand, I caressed her ivory cheek

An apple she gave to me, its purpose mournful and bleak

I willfully bit into it and the muscles in my heart began to quiver

As I looked into her solemn eyes, my vision faded and withered

My greatest sin, I weep to godless stars above

Was nothing more than to give death my love

 

(Author's note: The contest was to put a spin on a children's fairy tale. So I did just that.
Also, there should be an indent every other line. Formatting help would be appreciated.)

 

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