in its claws. It gnaws
on my thoughts till even my dreams
echo with your words:
"You must never set eyes on me
before the sun smoulders
and twilight raises its banners."
Each day your locked door
mocks me with its secret.
Why mustn't I?
Daylight steals you from me,
jealous wretch that he is!
As the northern days lengthen
our time together is thread-thin,
cursed sun barely setting before rising again.
It's nothing like our courtship
in the cold season.
I want winter, I want the thrill of frost
and your touch nightlong!—those endless nights.
You've forbidden me, yes,
but shouldn't a spouse
know everything about her love?
Just a little peek
through the keyhole. Just a little
look. Shock stabs me
sharp-slick in the heart—
by daylight you've lost your beauty,
your forest-brown skin,
your hair's wild swirls.
In the stark summer-light
I can see your day-form,
your true-form: a red fox
lies curled up sleeping
where my love should lie.
Unlocked, for you trust me, the door springs open
at my mistaken touch. The fox shies awake.
Dread leadens my heart. Betrayal. That's what this is.
Fox-fur standing straight
you stare sorrowful at me. Your eyes
are the same. "Only three more days
till the spell's breaking," you say,
"but it's too late, for magic
should never be spoken of."
My heart spills over for never did I think
that there was a spell. But of course there was.
Off the eiderdowned bed, down carpeted hall
you flee into the forest, haunted, cursed
and all for my impatience.
I know I'll never see you
again, unless in dreams.
I tear my hair, jaw clenched, I long
for our short summer hours,
our endless winter nights.