Here’s the moral of the story
before it even begins: the youngest
brother always wins. The princess
always wins. The frog triumphs
only if not a frog. The swallow
may be dragged underground
and still revive to fly away.
The bare cupboard will reveal
your heart’s desire, your secret fear.
The ring you hold in your pocket
is not yours. The spell you suffer
may be cured by figwort, milkwort,
whorlywort, snapdragon, toadflax,
speedwell, mullein, but at a price.
Will you pay it sight unseen?
Will you weep to dislodge the shard
of ice in the eye, the ruby in the throat?
Will you pack your rucksack and begin?
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 4.
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