June 21, 2016


Gloom laden paths lay
Black tongues, black hearts
Caged within beech and birch
a cabin of bones awaited

The forest belongs to her each crow cried
Plants and life, suns and moons

As night slighted the dusk, she was waiting
Plans fell as leaves as she revealed:
Neither potions, nor spells but tinctures and salves
Beauty and radiance, flesh not bones

Stopped dead by a hush of her lips
Feeling her life as she pressed in, disarming
as I fell captive to her skin

How bright glows the night, when held tight as bark
An axe need not splinter, when given a key

Lee Prosser


After Anu [had created the Heavens],
The Heavens created [the Earth],
The Earth created the Rivers,
The Rivers created the Canals,
The Canals created the Marshes,
The Marshes created the Worm.
Came the Worm and wept before Shamash,
Before Ea came her tears :
What wilt thou give me for my food,
What wilt thou give me to devour ?
I will give thee dried bones,
And scented . . . wood.’
Nay, what these dried bones of thine to me,
And thy scented . . . -wood ?
Let me drink among the teeth,
And set me on the gums ;
That I may devour the blood of the teeth,
And of their gums destroy their strength
Then shall I hold the bolt of the door.

The incantation is really one which was written for people with toothache, which was believed to be due to the gnawing of small worms. By repeating the story of the creation and subsequent action of the original Worm, the magician shows that he clearly has knowledge of the name of his enemy and his methods, always a fundamental principle in magic, and he may then proceed with his instructions.

Luzac’s Semitic Texts and Translations, Volume XIV

Trecarne bridge

When we stand on a bridge, we stand neither on land nor water; we stand in a symbolic space. Faerieland is always approached in places or moments where opposites are in balance. Edges, borders, boundaries of all kinds are where we encounter the faery realm, where land and water meet, where forests begin, and in twilight when the dark meets the light.

Brian and Wendy Froud

the mermaid’s agony…

June 21, 2016


During the writing of The Little Mermaid, Andersen must have suffered greatly indeed. As Tatar notes, much representational energy was spent on dramatizing the mermaid’s agony, both physical and emotional. This is perhaps best exemplified in the image of the mermaid, secretly brokenhearted, celebrating the marriage of her beloved prince to another woman. During the festivities, she:

“Whirled into dance, gliding like a swallow when it is being pursued. . . .It was as if sharp knives were cutting her delicate feet, but she did not feel it; the pain that pierced her heart was far worse. She knew that this was the last night that she would see the prince — the one for whom she had left her family and her home, given up her beautiful voice, and suffered endless torment every day without his knowing it. It was the last night that she would breathe the same air as he, that she would see the deep ocean and the starry blue sky. Eternal night, without thoughts or dreams, awaited her, she who didn’t have a soul and could not win one. . . .The mermaid laughed and danced, her heart filled with thoughts of death.”

Not only does the little mermaid suffer, but she must suffer in silence (having given up her voice) and alone (having abandoned her family and home).

Virginia Borges
A Million Little Mermaids