Mortal (another tale of True Thomas)

In my British cousin’s attic, in her creaking wooden house,

A chest that held a tapestry, dulled with dust and age.

And near it lay torn pages, edges nibbled by a mouse,

We sat and read together, grimy thumbprints on each page.

The pages told a story, scribbled in a shaking hand,

Of a human man named Thomas, and a lady all in green,

How he met her at a crossroads, and followed to her land.

The pages told the story of the tapestry we’d seen.

He wore swirling rags of color and a harper’s cape of blue.

His hand was in the lady’s, harp of silver at his side;

But a curse was laid upon him; every word he spoke was true–

His reward for kisses stolen; curse a harper could not hide.

Mortal weaving can’t do justice to the beauty of the fey,

Her glory rivaled beauty of sunset or sunrise,

But we held hands and shivered on that cold December day,

For the weaver had caught perfectly the terror in his eyes.


M.A. Mohanraj

December 8, 1992