The Way a Lady is Made (Ink Notes 7/6/09)

I'm participating in my beautiful wife's 'Ink Notes' weekly writing activity - every week, she'll be selecting a piece of music for us to listen to and write a story. I can't say my writing will add much, so at least I can advertise :P. If you like to write, and would like a weekly prompt to get your juices swishing, come join in - need not be anything fancy, it's just for fun :).

Song: La Serenissima
Artist: Loreena McKennitt

Miss Lucy was a lovely girl -
Her skin as clean as tallow-wax
Her hands like finely-feathered birds,
Her hands so soft the bark would crack
The skin - that's how we find them out
You know, a branch or bramble cries
"Too smooth! Too smooth!" A murmur flies,
The woods speak to the meadow-grass,
The meadow to the pool.

The coppice always tells the pool,
And we - we wait - we sing the lay -
"Come quick, come quick, ye sorry souls,
Come find the way a lady is made.
The sun will slap your pretty cheeks-
Come, then! To shady, tinkling glade!
And learn the way a lady is made!
In our green and stilly pool - "

And Lucy came, like all the rest,
As straight-stalked as a paperwhite.
She cried the same old salty tears,
She sighed the same old lonely sigh -
No, nothing special - just another
Failure of the tired moon,
Come here to ask a little room
In the lady-making pool.

Her hands are clumsy - she unclasps
Her boots, she slips her stockings off
And steps on the familiar stone
That hangs above the lady-pond.
She stares, and turning back recalls,
And slides a stone into her gown
Then steps into the air - and down -
With a plash into the pool.

The water's rich with bits of green,
Like tiny balls of velveteen
Upholstering her slender throat.
The seaweed is a glossy skein
Of shining yarn, or else a roll
Of verdant ribbons, tied to trim
A coverlet on Lucy's limbs,
To pull her weary, struggling head,
To rest upon the cushioned bed
Of the slowly settling pool.

The mud is thick and finely grained
And draws her slow into a sleep
She frets and rolls to find a nook
Within her bed - the soil seeps
Into each tiny, pearl-like ear,
Across each pink and pretty lip,
Across, between her narrow hips,
And draws her neath the pool

Now, little Lucy, now you rest!
And let the little crawling life
Of pools your pretty limbs undress
And make of you a water-wife!
Ye marry man or marry earth,
Ye marry soul or marry space,
At least we ask but one embrace
In the mossy nuptial pool --

Before your soul becomes a shade,
Before your hopes are told to fade,
Before you are, a lady, made.


Things Corp. said...


I love it when things have to do with Women and Water. It's always fun.

the meter though, thick and thin,
Had lost me, twice and then again,
ner'less I stumble forth,
the pace enthralled, my hearts own din,
To find the scribings worth.

I liked it!

Lori Tiron-Pandit said...

Very beautiful! Dark, but beautiful.

Jason Gignac said...

Mr. Things - you know what else is fun? Bouncy Castles! I'm glad you're doing the challenge, too - you're one of the people I'd like to not stop knowing :).

Ms Tiron-Pandit - I'm glad you enjoyed it :). For some reason, the first time the first time I heard this song, I remembered it being playedon the Christmas Carols station all the time - don't know if that's wrong, still, or not. But, then I started writing, and came out with this. Do you write poetry? :)

Kim said...

It looks like the music made us both think similar thoughts. We both have pale ladies and green pools.

I really like your poem! I love the gothic style, with a rather modern take. I suppose in traditional gothic poetry the sun would have kissed her skin, instead of slapped her, and the meadow grass would have wept as she walked by. Awesome job.

Amanda said...

I'm so reminded of Virginia Woolf in The Hours here. Less frantic, less spastic, but still the same imagery. Can I say I was a bit horrified when I slowly came to realize the transformation in this book was not about growing but about suicide? (Unless, of course, I'm totally off base, which wouldn't surprise me) The poem went from bright to dark with a sudden descending turn. I was a bit horrified to keep reading.

PS - I did it! I read poetry! And I got an interpretation from it, though possibly I'm completely wrong, but at least I interpreted it in some way!

Jason Gignac said...

Kim - I love Wuthering Heights, can you tell? :) And, again, the ladies and green pools coincidence is very odd... ;)
Amanda - Glad the poem caught you off guard :). Yay Manda! We'll make a poet of you, yet!

Amanda said...

I meant "transformation in this POEM was"

Kerri said...

Well done with the poetry. The last line is so musical in itself. Poetry writing and reading usually escapes me, but luckily Amanda tipped me off for the deeper meaning. (That or the rock in her dress)

Jason Gignac said...

Kerri - I'm glad you like the last line, I wasn't sure if it was too heavy-handed, glad you liked it. I have to admit, despite having seen the Hours, which Amanda reminded me DOES in fact involve rocks in the dress, I was a little bit worried that would come off unrealistic - it seems difficult to get a heavy enough stone or stones, to pull one down to the bottom. I used to worry about that, if I ever were to commit suicide - that you'd change your mind, and then be ripping at your clothes to pull these rocks out, and end up sitting in the middle of a pond, humiliated, in just your underwear.

Kerri said...

I hope it's not wrong I had a laugh at that image you just created!

Jason Gignac said...

It goes only to prove my point ;)

Amanda said...

Kerri - it was the rock that tipped me off, too. Just like Virginia Woolf.

chosha said...

I like the sense of conversation, like all natural things mentioned are connected, a community.

Jason Gignac said...

It's interesting you should say that, Ms Chosha - What do you think the feeling of community in nature does for the larger poem?

Liz M Derry said...

I just read this, Jason, as I was waiting to finish mine first. Very well written, and not at all what I was expecting at the beginning. I do love a good twist. It had a good rhythm to it as well. I enjoyed it!