so they came wandering from the woods
hand in hand, the boy younger
clothes like torn leaves
their hair dry rushes
and we broke off harvest
dropped scythe and rake
crossed ourselves in fear
of their green
as true as I stand
their strange babble
like corncrakes in the stubble
thrushes fluting in the hedge
refused our bread, chewed
raw green beans, like cats
lapped water from the hand
years on, green no more
the boy being dead
the girl baptised and godly speech
restored - or learned anew -
she told her tale: she spoke of bells
a river, sunless St Martin’s Land,
of tending flocks, a deep ravine -
truth or fancy? She married well.
Time twists memory to legend -
fragments jag, distort
like a splintered glass -
but this we swear:
from somewhere unbeknown
two green children came.
About the author:
After decades teaching in Scotland and Yorkshire, Lynda Turbet now lives in north Norfolk, where she observes the world from her wheelchair and tries to make sense of it all through writing. Her work has won prizes, has been published in online and print journals, and in themed anthologies.
This is the story of the green children of Woolpit, Suffolk, which dates from the 14th century and is depicted in a window of the village church.
My grey sisters never lived their youth
They share one eye and one tooth
Aligned as eggs they sleepwalk through our back yard and nest beneath our apple tree.
Our kind mother is the Lady of Canines
Under the surface of herself she has the distorted body of a swan and a cosmogonic castle of riddles.
I absorbed I merged I forgave
To slay I disdained
Stood in the clearing alive as a forest
My armless body across currents of memory
Do I lose control or clench as the impalpable axe in my floating palm hangs over stretches of white plankton
An eroding seabed bears my pearl face
Underneath I am eight years old
my unripe hand clasps a pen
I toss my small journal book in the depths of my throat
-An undomesticated land of reversed periphery
from the ocean’s floor, out into the forest, up the mountain, out into the river, out into the desert, stars come up, night falls over, my childhood house in flames
Flesh in its boundless amorphous fate
My crucible heart
a geomorphic mystery of distance
a melting agony of protruding golden arms
About the author:
Maria Constanti is a performer from Cyprus, based in Athens, working across the fields of storytelling, music and devised performance. In her work she embraces practices that explore the body as the creative source of poetic and symbolic articulation, as a space for speaking in images from the body’s experience, informed by the underlying resonance of the mythic. She studied Classics at the University of Cyprus and researched postmodern reinterpretations of fairy tales at the University of Athens, performance practice and embodied dramaturgy at Arthaus Berlin Centre for Devised Theatre and Performance.
Discussing disabled characters in fairy tales and folklore!