Today's poem is by Cathryn Essinger
November, and Cinderella's coach is moldering
among the windfalls. Sunken and puckered by frost,
still it holds much of its former grandeurthe vaulted
ceiling, the gold leaf burnished by October sun.
Here, among the cushions, mice have chewed
through to the floorboards and then settled in
to tell their grandchildren about the days
when they were touched by magic.
How lightly the traces lay on their dappled shoulders,
how easy it was to prance and toss their plumed heads
while pulling a carriage made of the finest gold.
But when Grandfather tells about the magic wand,
the wonderful words that made them magnificent,
the grandchildren look askance. How dreadful
to live in the past, to remember only the magic
of yesterday, when there is so much to admire
about the moment. See how the wind brings leaves
to life, how the willow cracks and sings
in the moonlight, how the grasses bow down?
But when winter comes to smother the hedgerow
and shadows move overhead, and midnight chills
even the most adventurous among them, they sink
into burrows, and whisper among themselves
about the cats stalking, the owls and hawks
circling above, and how they escape, miraculously,
time and again, with only their stories intact,
and how easy it is to believe in magic, when nothing
else can possibly explain the wonder of it all.
Copyright © 2004 Cathryn Essinger All rights reserved
from The Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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