the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




TWO WORKS
BY CHARLAINE COLEMAN

SEASON IN LONG SHADOWS

Autumn sheds
its skins…
layers of cooling red, burnt orange,
simmering yellow and spent brown
lie fitful on the ground.

The wind seizing the leaves'
 unease moves them along
 like so many whispers
 rasping gossip in the market.

Molting time,
the woman returns
after a trip abroad---
here lonely, there lovely.

She watches the leaves
tell tales
out of church
and sees the future
written on the walls
in bloodied colors
dripping into ashes
served up in city streets
with the assurance
of an almost steady hand
and a penitent voice.

She bows low
within autumn's earthy glow
     to the north
     to the south
     to the east
     to the west

resting in the center
alone
in the cold light
wind striking a bargain
between the leaves,
the earth and the elements
she greets
the coming winter.

================

THE FATES

Time spirals out…
a fractal arc of constant change.

Three women smile and hum, wool in hand…
spinning, weaving, cutting.

Fibers spun into thread, so many single strands
curling together…spiral-coded
spinning into one
and more…
til the skein, the spool, is full.

Then passed to weaving hands
which order the spinning world.
For moments the threads meet at right angles
creating fabric, texture and pattern
at the weaver's whim…as she wishes,
she weaves the threads to her will…
bending willow's wood to frame her work
the second bows to the sea, to the wind
to the earth and the fire within.

Tears wet the wood as the third sister
cuts the shroud…"Too soon," some think.

Three women wielding power…
women wild in the task of time.
not even the gods dared
to cross their winding paths.

Three forgotten except for knocking wood
and time telling fate in old myths.

Yet the spinner's threads still spin,
the weaver weaves her will,
and the cutter cuts final cloth.

In the tangled threads woven
blood and bone, time and fate,
love and fear, will and final stone…

how fast the hands move
how short the threads
the cloth frays and tears;
it wears thin like old skin…

Yes…the fates do watch us all
they smile and hum
spinning, weaving, cutting.
They will us into being
and call us back again
as we unravel
our willful, often witless riddles.
They know us in and out
and through…

Smiling, humming--here they come.

They were here before
and will be here long after
these present threads are cut.

They watch and will and wish
all for all
time spiraling…in some fractal arc