Pasifika Queen Mab
“This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage:”
Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
Doping nocturnal moths, dry and empty in their brown winged shells,
The densely sweetened perfume of manuka hugs the ground
Insinuating through the dreams of wood-wasp in their paper cells.
As day gives up her irksome work the dark womb meets her need
And sultry through the musky heat the moon rests in her cup
And counts each starry glimmer as her seed.
Phosphorescent seas collapse on broken shingle spits to sing
Of lost atolls, of mattocked rings of brittle rock
And henges built of mushrooms in the close-grazed faery ring.
The husks lie shattered on the moss, the gnats have long since flown,
Attercop spins deadly wheels, there is no cricket wing
The open rides of lovers’ hopes are long since overgrown.
She does not trust the traveller, the rider on the ridge
She has no faith in whispered words, the secret tryst or pledge
She will not stride the open plains or creep along the ledge.
She does not trust the stay-at-home, nor the fly-by-night
She has no faith in song and dance, the contract or the fight,
She takes no comfort from the wren nor fears the eagle in full flight.
She is the witch of borderland, she is the sage of time,
She is the aged Sybil, midwife of the troubled mind,
She is the orphaned wanderer with no family, hound nor kine.
On a skiff of gilded darkness crafted from a lizards skin
She searches for companionship in dank ditches, rilles and brook ,
She rests, bewildered, longing for her now ancestral kin.
The heavy musk of twilight revisits her again
In loss she finds acquaintance with the peace she craves
To drift to immolation like moths to candle flame.
“And it is yet permitted me to rend
The veil of mortal frailty, that the spirit,
Clothed in its changeless purity, may know
How soonest to accomplish the great end
For which it hath its being, and may taste
That peace which in the end all life will share.”
Queen Mab – Percy Bysshe Shelley
Link to Painting ‘The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke’, Richard Dadd, 1855–64 | Tate