Blue sky, white clouds

Wabasha Street Bridge, Saint Paul, MN, Photo Copyright Annette Marie Hyder

Heaven is for sharing
By Annette Marie Hyder

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
or what’s a heaven for?”
— Robert Browning

Sometimes it seems that if you just stretch out your hand
heaven and all that is in it is yours for the taking.
Just leave some clouds for the rest of us.

Crimson Fairy Book

Perhaps you know that I love fairy tales, myths, and legends?

So I was minding my own business, sitting in one of the rooms in the beautiful Art Deco building that houses the Saint Paul Court House. I was waiting for my name to be called so that I could meet with a traffic hearing officer. No good magazines to read, no network available on my phone, nobody to engage in conversation. I looked at the magazine rack again and my eyes fell on a book that looked to be of great interest even from afar. Just the way it presented itself — leaning casually upright in the magazine rack, with it’s eye-catching cover of classic cream outlined with a border of bold crimson and decorated with jaunty black embellishments and text — curled a finger at me and drew me near. When I got close enough, imagine my delight in seeing that it was an ANDREW LANG fairy book! And, even better, one which I have not read; the Crimson Fairy Book.

After my initial hyperventilating excitement, I also noticed the little note on the book that says “I’m a good book! Please take me home. I promise I’ll behave.” Such an appealing invitation. And just look at the adorable dragon on that cover. How could I resist? And since it’s an Andrew Lang,  the book can misbehave too as far as I’m concerned.

So I sat happily down and proceeded to read my new free book, the glow of happy possession/ownership spreading throughout my person with each line I read. This book felt so right in my hand as it sang its stories beguilingly in my mind. I pictured in my mind’s eye the perfect spot for it in my home, pondered my sister’s envy when I told her about it, my daughter’s delight. In sheer happiness, I looked at the cover again and noticed that “Look inside!” was highlighted with exuberant yellow.

“Read and Release me”

So I looked more carefully inside the book and inside the front cover I read the following:

“I’m a very special book. You see, I’m traveling around the world making new friends. I hope I’ve met another friend in you. Please go to and enter my BCID number (shown below). You’ll discover where I’ve been and who has read me, and can let them know I’m safe here in your hands.Then…READ and RELEASE me!

BCID: 940-11169155

Peeping at the website that wants me to give up my new-found treasure

So it was with trepidation that I went to the BookCrossing website.
My Crimson Fairy Book and I have just found each other. Are we to be separated so soon, victim to the cruel “release” dictates of the BookCrossing program? It does say at the site that I can keep the book if it has found a good home but now I’m wondering if it would be selfish of me to keep this book from its higher destiny, an exciting and “storied” life of globetrotting and bringing joy to others on its travels.

BookCrossing, according to Wikipedia, is defined as:

“”The practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.” The term is derived from, a free online book club which was founded to encourage the practice, aiming to “make the whole world a library.” Source: Wikipedia

The program has been called “A modern-day message in a bottle.” –The San Francisco Chronicle, “An unlikely global sociology experiment.” — Book Magazine. The New York Times has said of the program, “If you love your books, let them go.”

From the Book Crossing Website:

“It’s easy to find books, share books and meet fellow book lovers:
Step 1. Label
Register your book for FREE, and get a unique BookCrossing ID. This
BCID allows you to follow your specific book wherever it goes. Think of
it as a passport enabling your book to travel the world without getting

Read more about step 1 and find out what steps 2 and 3 are at the Book Crossing website.

What to do?

So, back to my dilemma. Here’s what I’ve decided: I can’t be expected to part with Crims (as I’ve named the book) just yet — I’m not even through reading him! I’m not ruling out the possibility of releasing Crims in the future but I think I have an even better idea. I have just the book to release in Crims place. Happy reading!

White Flowers and a White Bridge

By Annette Marie Hyder

The day gets away with me here
stretches into night
where all my freckles. those kisses from the sun,
fade in the flower filled dusk.
Night blooming daylilies nod their heads
in a night-time ghost garden of white

where moths dance balançoire ballon
on a branch’s bumpy ridge
and their wings —
a flutter and sigh arch bridge
of rose petal velvet with none of the thorns —
rise as stairs lit by lightning bug stars

as I step over and into the light
in this pale world of la lune lit night.

Summer Sky: Pixel and Verse

Macalester  College sky, seen while reclining on the rolling lawn by Carnegie Hall. Photo Copyright Jasmine Rain Hyder

summer sky
By Annette Marie Hyder


the clouds are deckle edged paper
letting the light shine through in layers
tinted by the watercolors of the rains they’re painted with


white clouds billow in the breeze
i’m making a tent
under the summer sheets
hanging on the clothesline sky
i’ll come out when i am ready
(when the day calls me in for dinner)
and you will see me by and by

early evening

a long line of white birds
gets lost against the equally white clouds
becoming hint and vague suggestion
of flight in the sky where such things —
floating, flying — are so ordinary as to fade into invisibility right before your eyes
if you allow yourself to have a blind eye to the commonplace
i look beneath the surface line between nothingness and splendor
unwrapping wonder as i go

Constant Melusine

By Annette Marie Hyder
Previously published in Fantasy and Fairytales Magazine

The woman is always naked
and there is always a snake
whether it is tester, taster, tamer
whether it is part of her person
in gleaming scale tail
and the snake is colored green.

There is always the undulation
of mystery unveiling and a twisting
this way and that of thoughts revolving
upon themselves, figure eights of intuitions
making patterns
in the what-if dust, the could-be dirt
that is at the woman’s feet
and that has always been.

She uses everything she has
the excrescence of her self
that she emits with sweat.
She gives everything she has
and this giving is always in the nature
of birthing, relying wholly on herself
she labors making something beautiful
out of that which was not.

She loves the things she makes
in an idolatrous way, transfuses them
with her spirit, hallows them with her heart.
She creates them in her image
but it is a mirror image
her face’s remembered reflection
in rippled stream, her proportions limned
by wavering waterfalls with rainbows overarching
inspiring her paints.

And there are always more tears, of joy, of sorrow,
to make more waterfalls and rivers and streams
watery deeps and wellsprings of desire.
She is as much fountain as anything else
and that is why she has been called Naiad, Scylla,
Melancholy, Melusine.

And Melusine, gowned in golden scales
shimmers before the collective eye
in every little Eve.
Hisses of adoration, or accusation
writhe in the wake of her feet–
when she wears them.

She is always with us
constant Melusine
cavorting in a pool the color of milk
beneath red-roofed forest trees.
The trees themselves are red and gold
but Melusine is green, green, always ever-green.


I read the New York Times review of Balanchine’s two-act ballet,”‘Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed this month by the New York City Ballet (Balanchine’s Nocturnal Dream, Tailor Made for June). Mention is made of Mendelssohn’s ‘The Fair Melusina’ opus 32, which got me thinking of one of my favorite enigmatic shape-shifting fairy figures from France, Melusine (aka Melusina). If Melusine is a season, she is summer-time to me. With the first day of summer being tomorrow, the 20th of this month, I am posting this as a prelude-to-summer poem, an “odic” tribute to the fair Melusine.

Links of interest:

The poem Constant Melusine, along with a retelling of the ancient French tale, comparative mythology and recommended reading is included in my book, The Real Reason the Queen Hated Snow (and Other Stories).
Wikipedia: Melusine
Mendelssohn’s ‘The Fair Melusine’ opus 32, with images, on YouTube

“Can I?”

By Annette Marie Hyder

“Can I have all your rainy days?” she asked.
“And all my rainy nights too.” he agreed,
not knowing she was a weather mage
and that he was in for some stormy weather indeed.

“Can I have all your kisses?” she asked.
“Yes, you can have all my kisses and all my smiles besides.” he said,
and she smiled little knowing he was a master mage
whose kisses were his magic, whose smiles were just like wine.

Sunday Things: Happy Father’s Day 2012!

Where the Green Springs, Where the Branches Wind
By Annette Marie Hyder
(Father’s Day 2012)

Like a photo in a locket
kept against my heart
I carry him inside of me
he is the very part

that remains a mystery

encased in finest gold
pressed between metal hands
a miniature wold

where the green springs

and the branches wind
their leafy hands vine-braided
with flowers of every kind

in a little case suspended
from a necklace made of tears

whose park is filled with birdsong–
beautiful and clear.

Composition note:

Wold is an Old English term for a forest or an area of woodland on high ground. It derives from the German word wald, meaning forest. It became weald in West Saxon and Kentish.

While the Rain Came Down and Your Baggage Rode Your Back

By Annette Marie Hyder

The house was dark and empty
lit only by the flashings of the storm
and I knew that you were getting lost
’cause I am your protector
even now you’re gone.
I wept for your figure disappearing in the storm
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

Parents and defenders didn’t hear my call
as I ran through muddy mazes
to come between your fall
and you — determined to be gone.
Your footprints left their say
in a hurried message on the lawn
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

They rode your shoulders like a child
and I knew that you’d be gone
my sorrow at your going
was that you were not yet ready
for the darkness and the storm.

My sorrow was for you
and for the appearance of a train
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

It could have been the lead car
in a funeral procession
for all the joy it lit the night
despite circus curlicue moldings
and gold glitter painted bars
and you were in it like an animal
settling in its straw
and I wept though I understood
the lure of its draw
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

They rode your shoulders like a child 
and I knew that you’d be gone
my sorrow at your going
was that you were not yet ready
for the darkness and the storm.

The promise of adventure
and the hint of being free
were almost just enough to also get to me
but I saw that there were bars
in front of the stars that were in your eyes
and I couldn’t rattle through the night
in a train-car strewn with lies
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

They rode your shoulders like a child 
and I knew that you’d be gone
my sorrow at your going
was that you were not yet ready
for the darkness and the storm.

I woke like Seger to the sound of thunder
and a cry upon my lips
your image still before me
my heartbeat racing glyphs
with the rain in abeyance
and your bags around my hips.

They sway when I walk

hold me back apace
but I will never give up
on the winning of this race.
I will never give up
on the winning of this race.

Sunday Things: Rain and darkness fall

By Annette Marie Hyder

The rain rides the night’s shoulders
like Puck riding the back of a great owl
that sweeps the sky with the absence of light,
off the moon and covering up the eyes
of all the stars. The shadow of
night’s dark wings falls
while Puck shoots all the arrows he has
and the
feathered raindrops spin
like fishermen’s lures
in the eddying stream
flowing down my window.
pages of the book that I am writing
are paper curtains that I draw
against the dimness
outside the lamp-lit room that is my mind.
But paper loves water, will
drink it thirstily, and I
find myself making curtains into boats
to launch on a rainy sea.

Links of interest:

Character analysis of Shakespear’s Puck
Puck Mythology
Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)