Midnight Skiing

Midnight Skiing (or, The Song That I Can Hear Behind His Voice)
By Annette Marie Hyder

He says the snow looks like diamonds sparkling in the moonlight,
says there is a hushed whisper of angel song in the whoosh of ski on track.
Says I will feel my wings unfurl as I hurtle down the slope,
3 sets — 1 each for shoulders, hips, and feet.
Tells me if I have water skied (he knows I have) that I can do this —
makes me think of the iron grip my thighs took to ride each wave
how it began with steady rising
and firm control of every drop-filled detail.
Says it will be much like that but with powdered sugar replacing wetness.
He neglects to itemize the cold.

But for a song like the one he mentioned at the start —
the one that I
can hear behind his voice —
for a song like that and three sets of
wings I will embrace the cold
thrill of midnight skiing beneath the moon whilst riding on the wind.


By Annette Marie Hyder

siblings are connected to us in so many ways
they are each a key
to our heart’s own understanding of ourselves
they plant themselves
in the soil of our souls, our being,
and leave secrets, for us to solve,
like the echo of childhood games,
the secret of where the lock is for the key
and what will grow from the seeds within us
in their memory

Amidst the Swirling Feathers

By Annette Marie Hyder
Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero. – Horace

The snow is an owl
whose wings spread silence
over trees and telephone poles
from lamppost to horizon.
The day is a burrowed mouse
beneath the fields of white
with pink nose poking and ears alert —
just a scamper away from carpe temporis punctum.

Sunshine brackets me

By Annette Marie Hyder

like bookends lacquered in gold crackle

holding me between its arms
as if I am a book
with my spine trying —
as book-spines are wont —
to share something of myself with the world.
Sometimes I can feel my pages rustling
and I know that someday
the sun will no longer bracket me,
will not illuminate the print on the outside,
but instead will seep quietly into my pages
limning all the words inside —
the ones we all have —
monk-labored and calligraphy kissed
like a manuscript of old, lavish in marginalia,
annotated and footnoted, Latin phrase blissed.
And I see those words trellis across the manuscript —
the opposite of palimpsest —
as sunshine climbs them, hand over hand,
and something grows bright red and knife sharp:
a rose with thorns that when I look closer
resolve themselves to quills
that I’ll be writing with.

Yes, it is true that the spine is a metaphor for courage,
a byword for assertiveness.
Behind the narrow strip
where the cover of this book is joined to its pages,
let each word be written with brushes dipped
in the gold of burning stars and glissed
with the ruby of molten rocks,
the hard glass green of chemo-sensing sea serpents,
and the brightest blue that delicately floats on lepidoptera wings.
Let the black be rich and let it still cling
to darkest earth/womb/tomb from whence it came,
sometimes leaving smudges where none were intended
through muck fecundity.

Illuminated Manuscripts

The British Library Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog is filled with pictures of pages and attendant information pertaining to said pages from illuminated books and ancient manuscripts. The four examples below from the BLMEMB (British Library Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog) include:
1. Miniatures of (in the initial) a
poet-lover presenting verses to his lady and (in the right margin) a
lover’s heart, burning on a fire and being quenched with rain; from a
collection of 49 love sonnets, Italy (probably Milan), 2nd or 3rd
quarter of the 15th century
, King’s MS 322, f. 1r.
2. Miniature of the Apparition of Michael. 
Beneath the miniature is a single four-line red stave, musical notation
and a single line of text in gold capitals ‘Exultando in Gesu’.
Illuminated by Pacino di Buonaguida, Italy (Florence), c. 1340, Additional 35254B

3. A detail from the Speculum
sapientiae, or Mirror of Wisdom, a Latin text that included a large number of beast fables. Detail of a miniature of the hedgehog reproaching the goat for his vanity; from Ulrich von Pottenstein, Spiegel der Weisheit, Austria (Salzburg), c. 1430, Egerton MS 1121, f. 44v.

4. Allegorical miniature of the Tudor rose, incorporating various emblems associated with Henry VIII, from Motets for Henry VIII, Netherlands (Antwerp?), 1516, Royal 11 E. xi, f. 2r

The detail of the miniature of number three is one of my favorites. According to the BLMEMB, “In one of the fables, a goat came upon its
own reflection in a pond.  The goat,
seeing the horns on his head and his long goat beard, thought himself very
handsome indeed, and began to bleat, boasting of his horny ‘crown’ and hairy
‘necklace’.  A passing hedgehog, however,
was less than impressed.  If the goat had
impressive horns and beard, he also had an unsightly tail and a foul
temper.  A profound humility, the
hedgehog reproached, not vain
boasting, was what made an animal truly noble.”

1. 2.  

Links of interest:
Take one unicorn — A recipe for how to cook unicorn.
Timbuktu Texts Saved From Burning — A triumph for bibliophiles.

Winter Sunrise

Annette Marie Hyder

Sly tree branches weave themselves into a net
and cast it over the bright breasted sun,
now a trembling bird held
between their long fingers laced together —
basketry that glows.
The fledgeling slips between the prickly knots
of their arboreal cage and takes to the sky —
blue walled stage.
Light is a song that pours from Sunbird’s throat
to greet this winter day.