Beware, beware you breaker of vows, Apostate to the laws of love. The vehicle of scales stands at wait While the savage mother keenly wails, And the hell hounds begin their bay. Then begins the hell hounds’ bay. You dared dismiss her sacred cave Where the witching-eyed woman Lulled the serpent asleep; Where she of the potent elixirs Sang her songs of charm and succor, Sang her songs of succor and charm. You dared dismiss that vernal wood Where the saffron-sweet dancer Gathered those herbs so strange That kept you from burning away— She, barefoot mistress of mysteries dark, The mistress of mysterious art. For your scorn, the willow priestess Chants omens and casts her stalks On linen of white at the forking stream, Fettered is the bird to the fire wheel While being born is a shape so baneful, A baneful shape is being born. Down at the crossroads this very night Three times she turns beneath the stars And thrice shrieks her wailing plaint. Oh woe to you, you breaker of vows— See the moon turn pale at her song, So pale is the moon at her song.
This poem originally appeared in Ship of Fools, Winter 1994, Vol. 30.
Pamelyn Casto has articles on flash fiction published in Writer’s Digest, Fiction Southeast, OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letter, Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading, and in Critical Insights: Flash Fiction. She is associate editor flash fiction discourse at OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters http://ojalart.com/ Her poems have been published in several print and online publications including Better Than Starbucks, Poetry Repairs, and KYSO Flash. Soon Gargoyle will publish another of her poems.