Lady of Flowers
By Catt Kingsgrave
In a clan of great magicians, in a tribe of petty fools
A brother and a sister used their children as their tools
The one to curse, the other, cure, then curse in full return.
And in this kindly circumstance, a maid of flowers was born
A creature born of magic and of blossoms wild and free
(Though free was what my maker never meant for me to be)
He made me as a triumph, as a treasure, as a wife
And meaning all the while his favorite son should own my life.
Oh I remember meadowsweet, and I remember broom
And I remember heather bells in fragrant purple bloom.
The roses of the summer, and the lilies of the spring
Are all that’s left of innocence, a broken, precious thing.
At first I cared but little, as children often do;
My home was very pretty and my wants were very few
T’was only when I learnt that other people had a choice
That a tiny pain within found a name, and then a voice.
And when that voice drew notice, could I hope to understand
That a woman’s greatest freedoms still must answer to a man?
My lover bade me kill him; use my wiles to learn the way
To slip my shackles free. And thus, I learned how to betray.
Oh I remember columbine and crocus trim and neat
And clover like a carpet spreading thick beneath my feet
I remember treachery and sweetly gilded lies
And blood more red than roses flowing fast before my eyes.
Abandoned by my lover, who fled across the bourne,
I fled myself, my innocence and husband for to mourn
And when the mage who made me came, no mercy lit his eyes.
He spoke only of treachery, and scheming women’s lies.
Perhaps his rage lay somewhat in the grieving for his son;
I think the larger portion was I’d robbed him of a pawn.
Still, a crime had been committed, and a price had to be paid
And soon a bird of curses flew where was the flower maid.
Oh I remember violet, and poppies red as blood
And terror as I fled from all I’d never understood
I asked him for no mercy, and no mercy did he show.
On silent wings, in silent tears I fled the earth below.
Thus I became the night bird, and took to silent wing
Bearing censure for the crime of being person more than thing.
I live apart, alone, yet still hear men denounce my name;
A painful sort of freedom, but it’s freedom all the same.
Thus I am cursed to hunt the night where flowers do not bloom
An eerie, bitter omen in the midnight forest’s gloom.
And though my wings are silent, you may hear my keening cry,
But listen very closely, for I ask not “who,” but “Why?”