Wednesday 19 December 2012

Day 180: Mistletoe Bride

I came across this poem - a new Christmas offering from Carol Ann Duffy - the other day in The Times. The Mistletoe Bride is a sort of urban myth which tells the tragic story of a young bride who went missing while playing a traditional wedding game of hide and seek at her December wedding and was found years later, dead, trapped in an old trunk she had hid in, with a sprig of mistletoe in her hand.


Even though the story (and the poem) is haunting, I love the connotations of the last lines referring to the mistletoe: 'like love, patiently green'. Is love something which lasts forever, evergreen, never withering?  So patient, it will wait beyond death? (And I just can't help taking the moral of 'don't hide from love' from the story! Not to mention playing games...)

The Mistletoe Bride - Carol Ann Duffy

The December bride who, bored with dancing, skipped from the castle hall to play hide-and-seek, a white bird flickering into the dark...

The groom, who searched each room, calling her name; then the bridal guests, flame-lit, checking the grounds...

The fifty Christmases till a carpenter jemmied an old oak chest; the skeleton with its unstrung pearls, loose emeralds, its rings of diamond, sapphire, gold...

The running feet, the shouting for others to see what he’d seen; mistletoe in the loose bones of a hand...

like love, patiently green.


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  2. I love it, in so few words it captures a feeling of a macabre Christmas day.


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