Clarissa the Corn Maiden
Set off on her holidays
On the Eurostar to France.
She wanted to experience
Different ways of being -
She liked the way the gathered corn
Was wound round and round in spirals
Like an endless dance -
This was how she wanted to live.
She danced in the warm summer sun
To the song of the cicadas
Accordions, and Edith Piaf records
Being played on wind up gramophones.
And she would lie down, looking at the endless sky
Drowsed by the scent of lavender
Soothed by the poppies and sunflowers,
Until it grew dark, and the sky was full of stars.
One night, there stood in the moonlight
A deer with soft eyes
Who beckoned Clarissa to follow her
Past all the wayside shrines
Up to the millers house.
Clarissa was wary -
She heard millers tended to grind you down.
She had a fear of becoming something different
Of losing the essence of herself.
The miller had a jaunty air
and eyed her up hopefully
He was enchanted by her long golden hair -
And perfect ears...
And he would watch her every morning from his window
Dancing, always dancing.
He had gathered so many like her
Ripened by the summer sun -
But this one was different -
He wanted to keep her to himself
To sit beside the fire with her
On long winter evenings -
To hold her in his arms
And to read her the writings
Of French existentialist philosophers -
He prayed to the Great Mother
That he would be saved from himself.
And that things would not end
The way they normally did..
Clarissa was unaware of the miller's struggle
She was just enjoying her ripening
And besides, she had a return ticket home.
On the last day of her holiday
The miller gathered her up
And with a tear in his eye
Put her back on the train.
Thus Clarissa escaped certain death
And the miller escaped inevitability.
Broken hearted, he gave up being a miller
And instead became a poet
And wrote endless poems about
Clarissa the Lost Corn maiden
He would give poetry readings in Paris cafes
Eventually he became Professor of Poetry at the Sorbonne -
But sometimes on warm summer days
He would see his Corn Maiden dancing
Out of the corner of his eye
And he would say to himself
If there was one good thing
That I have done with my life
It was to let her go.
©Lorraine Pickles – Lammas 2015