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Meenybradden lady

Mercedes Webb-Pullman

 

My story is lost in time’s fog.

No gravestone have I, to grow moss,

in the unhallowed ground of this swamp.

Eternally silent, time is a drip

of vinegar, pickling through layers of peat

to my dark airless tomb. The chill

 

of this valley’s not nearly as chill

as the church’s hypocrisy. Fuming a fog

of censure, they buried me here in the peat,

away from the churchyard, its crosses, the moss

on stones and oak. The diamonds that drip

from the railings when frost has covered the swamp

 

at sunrise, run down the hill to my swamp

bringing traces of corpses to wash me, a chill

rejoining of family. I feel them drip

to settle around me, hidden in fog,

holding me prisoner under the moss,

in death as in life. While harvesting peat

 

a peasant uncovered me, rolled back the peat.

He thought I was sleeping, there in the swamp

on mattress of peat, with blankets of moss,

and he pitied the lady asleep in such chill.

He wrapped me in wool, to stay warm in the fog,

and laid me back down. I saw moisture drip

 

from his face, but the mist here makes everything drip

and he may not have cried for me, sleeping in peat,

for I’d taken my own life. Locked in a fog

of lies and perversion, a bestial swamp

that my husband controlled, I prayed in the chill

of confession for help. I may as well ask moss

 

as it clings to the steeple. No parson, that moss,

but more honest. His threats, like acid, still drip

through my soul. I burned. Death’s final chill

released me from fires much hotter than peat

but my soul’s stuck here in this freezing swamp.

For centuries now I’ve called out through the fog:

 

 

Moss makes my blanket, my mattress is peat,

my tears drip into the swamp

where I sleep, in the chill, in the fog.

 

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