The Bear, by Ann Stanford
(From Grimm brothers)
We have once more caught
This old humbug, sister.
Here he lies in his shaggy coat
Snug by our cordial fire,
Claiming to be a prince, or a lost Christian in disguise.
There are things of the chrysalis - the butterfly,
Plots that must be hatched, deeds long in doing,
But this is thorough bear, rumpled and earthen.
Remember, sister, other miracles:
The pellet seed, bursting to root and leaf,
The hard green bud to rose,
The thought newborn
That pecks at the skull like a rousing chick.
Great things from small,
The pearl from the ooze,
And the radiant soul
Rapt from its prison in a broken spell.
Snakes drop their skins, but remain serpents still,
And the moth, long harbored in its chrysalis
Flies as a birthright to distorting flame.
Leaves spurt from seed, but only for the season.
No one has charted the sea-track of souls.
Bears sleep in winter caves and wake up bears.
The forest offers honey, hollow logs
Streams fraught with fishes,
Berries on the hills.
Yet here I ponder.
I am no common bear, for I have visions.
I dreamed I was a prince;
I walked in halls
Brilliant with torches.
Underneath this pelt
I feel the hardness of the golden mail.
Can such dissatisfaction offer proof
I am enmeshed in spells too fine to ravel?
Snow White and Rose Red, divert your clumsy wooer.
Some day we meet the dwarf and force the answer.