Friday, December 30, 2011

A Quick Note...

I started “Lens and Pen” at the beginning of 2011 as a challenge to myself.  The plan was to compose a post that blended a photo and creative fiction on a weekly basis. Not only did I manage to mostly stick to that plan, but I also garnered some lovely company along the way. Thank you for coming along for the ride ~ your friendship and comments are greatly appreciated.    

Wishing you beauty, bliss and all the best in 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

Autumn leaves
Chant ancient words and
Secret tunes transposed
by midnight wisdom.

Skeleton trees
Cackle and dance, snake
Pointy twisted fingers
Into a sky that is
Sprinkled with stars.

Smoke and moonlight spill
Scattered trickster fortunes
In shiny crystal globes
Tossed carelessly
On frosted earth.

Hearth and home
 Are hung with shadow,
Shaped and spun
By candles lit
Like little prayers

To welcome back the sun.

*  ***   ***   ***  *

 Happy Winter Dreamtime!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Autumn’s parting words,
Scattered leaf-shaped letters to
Welcome in winter.

Friday, December 9, 2011

And She Dances...

She was always jealous of my evening adventures. “But you get to dance with Princes,” she said, giving no thought to the price I paid with my own poor feet, not to mention the effort it took to get through the day with next to no sleep at all.

“And those jewels,” she continued. Call me blasé, but I was a little sick of sharp-edged shiny things weighing my hair down and pulling at my clothes. Oh yes, the clothes. Keeping up with current fashion trends was wearing on me as well.  Clearly I would get no sympathy from the baker’s daughter, though. I doubted that my sisters would understand either; they seemed quite content to continue with the nightly games.

I was secretly pleased when our routine was revealed. I saw my father smile for the first time in years and I thought that maybe things would finally change. The young man who figured out our late night scheme is now married to our youngest sister, Corrine, and they are blissfully happy in the home of their making. But the rest of us? Well, eventually we went back to doing the same thing all over again, sneaking off to dance the night away under the watchful eyes of the Princes, who applauded our appearance and sweetly held our hands while we swayed in prescribed circles and wore out yet another pair of shoes.

One night, on the way across the river to the revels, I watched as the rowing prince shifted uncomfortably in his starched jacket. His eyes were focused somewhere in the distance and I wondered what kind of dreams he hid behind them. When a tree limb snagged my sleeve and briefly jarred the boat, he blinked several times, sculpted his lips into an attentive smile and raised an enquiring brow my way. “Just a stray branch,” I told him, as I brushed the offending golden leaf and several shimmering others into my palm, “Of course I’m fine.”  When we reached the shore, he took my elbow with polite concern and steered me towards the music.

Upon our return home that morning, I stood aside as my sisters fell exhausted into their beds. My fingers closed around the precious leaves I had gathered and I made my way toward the door. What difference did a few extra dozen steps make at this point?

I ran off to the baker’s daughter’s house and hung my glittering gown on the clothesline there, with a note of introduction to my family and the sparkly leaf-trinkets tucked inside the pocket for her. I left my shoes on her porch and then snuck into her house, where several trays of still-warm muffins were cooling on the table. I took as many as my hands could hold and slid away from our village in my simple tunic, dancing with welcome abandon across morning fields in my bare feet as the sweet taste of fresh pastries and freedom filled my mouth.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


My mother named me Deirdre. Mom got the name from a book of legends and most people ‘round these parts have never heard of it before. The tale of Deirdre is an old one. In it, a baby girl is born and it is foretold that she will be the most beautiful woman in the world. Unlike the famous Deirdre, I can only pretend to be beautiful. Here, sitting in the half-light of dusk on the rusty old porch swing, you might say I’m a little bit pretty, at least.

My mother named me Deirdre, but it must have been a leap of faith, really. She never stuck around to see how I’d grow up. It’s been just me and Dad in this rickety old house since I was seven. But I remember the tales my mother told me. Deirdre’s story is my favorite, of course. Deirdre did grow up to be a beauty and men couldn’t help but love her. I guess that’s kind of true for me, too. Dad has loved me lots. “Making up for the whole lack of mom,” he’d say.  See, I know he loves me well and I’ve got the belly to prove it. People have been shaking their heads about it, though. “Fifteen,” they say, “And already pregnant.”

In Deirdre’s tale, she was so beautiful that men were always fighting over her. In a way, that’s happening to me now, too. Do you think mom knew? I watch the sun go down and I wonder what ever happened to that fairy tale book, and where Dad is. He hasn’t come home yet and I wish he would. He knows the man will be here soon, the one with the slick suit who wants to take me away. The one who said “You should be in a safe place where you’ll be taken care of properly,” all in smooth, confident tones. I’m sure Dad wants me to stay here with him, but this guy told me there will be some sort of battle over it.

I know what I will tell him though, this fancy creature coming up our gravel drive all the way from the big city.  I’ve been practicing the words all day. “I am already taken care of,” I’ll say, “I’m loved, fought over, sometimes even told I’m pretty. It’s just like a fairy tale.”

My mother named me Deirdre, and Deirdre I am.  But what’s in a name, right?