Breaking winter’s spell
Did snowdrops nod their lazy heads
Cowbells clang across the miles
Milky droplets fall to earth
Spring rains soak the path beside you
Searchers calling, calling, fail
Till the snows piled high and wide
Seven children waiting, wailing
Scattered, seven paths diverged
While you lingered side by side
Marceline, the youngest nodding
Dreaming as the years piled high
High as mountains coated deeply
Pockets filled with snow and ice
Far from news of marching armies
Shifting borders, storming skies
All the world kept to its stride
While you lay in feathered billows
Still, together side by side
Marceline alone had scouted
Past the clanging cowbells swinging
Yearly, spring rains soaked her path
Now she sits snow-headed nodding
Hope as white as snowdrops blooming
Through the years had been her guide
Till the glacier slowly thawing
Gave her back her Mam and Papa
Found together side by side
This poem was inspired by the story of a Swiss couple whose bodies were found in the Swiss Alps in 2017, 75 years after they went missing. Following their disappearance, their seven children had been separated and fostered out. Their only surviving child, Marceline – the youngest – had never given up hope of finding them. This is a poem about keeping hope alive in the midst of the storm – for all of us.
The motif of the snowdrop is used throughout, as in folklore, this flower was said to break the curse of winter upon the land.
‘Breaking winter’s spell’ was first published in The Remembered Arts Journal, April 2018.
Originally from Clare, Anne Casey is a writer living in Sydney, Australia. Over a 25-year award-winning career, Anne has worked as a business journalist, feature writer and magazine editor; corporate and government communications director; and legal author and editor.
Her writing and poetry rank in The Irish Times newspaper’s Most-Read, and have featured internationally in newspapers, magazines, journals, anthologies, books, videos, music albums, podcasts, broadcasts, and as a voiceover and visual art in an international art exhibition. She is author of where the lost things go poetry collection (Salmon Poetry 2017).
Photo by Натали Хмельницкая.