Mother Holle – a poem

Sometimes I write poetry. It may not be very good, but it gives me pleasure.

I don’t have a regular time or method for doing this. A phrase or sentence comes into my head and rolls around till I do something with it. Or I observe something, an outwardly visible image that wants to be matched with an inner thought or feeling. Or something I’ve been reading — a fairy tale, a Bible verse, another poem — invites a creative response.

Sometimes I have a spurt of creativity — in a time of crisis not long ago I was surprised that the urge to write poems was strong, sometimes three or more per day. This was a source of comfort to me, both in the writing and in reading them afterwards; they were like messages from a wiser part of myself.

But (perhaps thankfully) this doesn’t happen very often. Usually weeks or months go by before another poem comes to me. Maybe I should make more regular times to invite them; I will think about that.

Though I enjoy having these poems for myself, I also have the urge to share them with others, to let them speak beyond just my own head. I sent some poems to a few publishing venues and was rejected, which was discouraging. But then I realized, I don’t need someone else’s help to share my writing, if I want to. I can publish them myself right here.

So with your indulgence, I may insert a poem from time to time in the Enchanted Castle. This one is a response to the story Mother Holle, a good one for winter — I already referenced it in my post Spinning a tale. (If you don’t know the original tale, you can find it here.)

Rough and homespun as it is, I do hope you enjoy it, and let me know what you think.

Mother Holle

This is the story of two sisters.
They lived by a well,
Round door to the hidden world.
They spun the thread of destiny
Not knowing where it would lead them.

One marked it with her heart’s blood
And fell in the cleansing water.
Behind the veil of nature
She saw what needed saving
And to help was all her desire.
Bread and apples and feathers that flew,
Nourishment, life, and beauty —
She served well and earned her reward.

The other girl wanted what she had
But didn’t want to earn it.
False servant, she pretended —
No blood on her spool, no innocent fall.
She rudely jumped into a world
She didn’t understand or love,
In search of wealth and power.
Did she walk past oven and tree
And barely shake the pillow?
Or did she maybe keep pretending
And act like a helper, but only for gold?

The Mother of all can see through such darkness.
She got her reward — a black sticky cloak
To wear back into the world.

This is my story.
These two are me.
I am the gold girl and the black,
The one showered with light
The one covered in muck.

I fell and jumped into the well.
I was selfish and selfless.
I pulled out the loaves,
And I left them to burn.
I shook down the apples,
And I said, “Let them rot.”
I made snowflakes fly,
And I slept all day long.
Part of me has eyes to see,
And part of me is blind.

But sister, my sisters,
Can we be made whole?
Can we go on our way,
Bright and dark, bound and free,
Through the gate of birth
Into our own true life?

The idea of two sisters who were actually two sides of the same person was what came up for me in mulling over the images of this story. Those sisters seemed to both live in me, as I wrestled with contradictory aspects of my own character. The line “I am the gold girl and the black” sounded in my head and the poem built itself around it. At first I thought it should be a rhyming ballad and made several false starts. But when I let the words come more freely they found their own music and rhythm.

Join the Enchanted Circle

The Enchanted Circle newsletter offers subscriber-only content about my writing and reading life. You'll also receive a separate monthly blog post summary (unsubscribe any time). And I'll send a free gift!

Unsubscribe anytime.

3 thoughts on “Mother Holle – a poem

  1. I really appreciate your poem, Lory! As with all true fairytales, all the characters are within us – also the selfish stepmother and wise Mother Holle herself. It is so good to read this today as the snow falls outside my window!

Comments are closed.