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From Poems of Farewell: To Sleeping Beauty

The prince longing for Sleeping Beauty waits outside her tower


For all these years—

has it been a hundred yet,

you’ve slept in a tower

high above the world.

No one could crawl through these thorns,

these vines,

these obstacles

to wake you.

I’ve come before--

not even knowing you--

and stood here by this wall,

looking up,

straining for some way to penetrate

these brambles,

this thick grass,

these wild thorns

and wake you

and hear the world sing

hey-nonney-nonney

once again.

But each time I come,

I turn away,

knowing there are spells

that can’t be broken,

that wounds must heal in their own way,

that the sharpness of that spindle,

that needle’s pain long ago,

and the rage that poisons

such fragile lives and causes sleep--

such a sleep

that only time can wake--

is more than this poor prince can bear.

And so,

I turn to go.

Perhaps, I’ll come again, one day

and look up at your tower

high above the world

and see the pigeons on the roof fly off

and roses growing in the yard

and I’ll climb the narrow stairs

and kiss you.

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