Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Looking Glass

Every morning awoke she,
Be it hot, damn or wintry.
All she wanted to do,
Was to look into the looking glass for a glimpse or two,
For the blossoming woman thought,
When compared to her, others were naught.
So proudly trotted she,
The Lady of Swansea.

Little did she know,
When she went in the carriage with her kittens in tow,
That Destinies were looking at her below.
Said they, "A vain maid is she,
Full of impropriety,
It is our duty to show this woman snooty,
What the meaning is of true beauty."

Saying so, Lachesis got out the tapestry,
Of the woman's life she had sewn in all glory.
Atropos started weaving in haste,
For she had no time to waste.
Clotho just stood there watching,
Cackling and hoping the maid would realise what she is lacking.

The Lady came back from her evening outing,
And stood before the looking glass, pouting.
Before she knew what was happening,
Into space was she falling.
She moaned and cried for help,
Hoping that a knight would come to save her,
But no one came,
Though she called each by his name.

I am doomed, thought she,
However, such was the extent of her vanity,
That all she could think of was her beauty.
She thought of the praises she would never receive,
Of the thousands of people who would never her beauty perceive.
She had to soon forget about her quandary,
As a thud shook her from her reverie.

Was she dead? Was she hurt?
For all she could see around her was dirt.
There was only barren land everywhere;
And her eyes unaccustomed to such fare,
Were fixed in an empty stare.
In the far distance she spotted,
A boy with his hair knotted.
As her drew near, she drew back,
For she had not seen a more repulsive being
Since the one she had seen seven years back.

She walked on, huffing and puffing,
Quickening her pace even though it was she the boy was following.
"What an ugly place this is!", she ranted,
And at her own Fate she lamented.
With outright defiance did she ignore,
Every person, child or manticore,
Who foretold of the dangers awaiting her beyond this land,
The land of Sycamore.

She would have listened to them,
If only they had been charming, blessed by Beauty and favoured by Fortune.
But they were not so and by that she thought them very low,
And continued haughtily on the path to the Land of Bellow,
Not knowing she would be killed before she could say 'hello'.

The people of Sycamore grieved thus,
For it was not their nature to let a maiden fall into the abyss.
They were wise, the people of Sycamore,
Knowing full well that it was the looking glass
Which had made this lady forget that outer beauty does not last.
So they followed her,
Surely in a very subtle manner.

Meanwhile the Lady of Swansea,
Had reached the Land of Bellow and could not believe what she could see.
Knights strode in shining armour,
Knights far more handsome than Lancelot in all his honour.
And there were maids too,
Just like her, walking in twos.
So mesmerised was she by the land's glamour,
That she did not see that their eyes were filled with rancour.
For it was the rule of the land to devour,
People from countries afar.

There were looking glasses everywhere too,
In which you could see yourself from hat to shoe.
At once the Lady ran to see,
If her bonnet was in place, and
She looked at her reflection in utter glee.
When she looked back,
She saw the people readying a huge sack.
She knew not what it was for,
And in all her authority she demanded she know its purpose.
In response, she was pushed and shoved,
Taunted and chivied,
Right into the sack, which was already disheveled.

She got to know that,
She was going to be cooked in a cauldron,
With her dress and hat.
The Lady cried and screamed,
Soon the realisation of how misleading
Outer beauty can be dawned upon her it seemed.
She cursed the looking glass,
For it seemed to be the start of her troubles;
Then cursed herself as she had let herself be carried away.
Thus, she burst her bubble.

Help was at hand, she did not know that,
For people of Sycamore had followed her to this unseemly land.
A battle ensued,
Oh! One that was so crude,
That even a saint would have been moved.
All the Lady heard were war-cries,
And the sounds a person makes when he dies.

So terrified was she,
That, when released from the sack,
She screamed hysterically till her world went black.
When revived, she thanked the people of Sycamore profusely.
The King of Sycamore escorted her to his palace,
Back to his land which was void of malice.
The Lady recovered in days three,
When she was told that this was the Destinies' Decree.

So came down Lachesis, Clotho and Atropos,
Holding the Lady's tapestry and some scrolls.
Said they, Lady of Swansea,
What you just underwent was our decree.
We saw you getting proud and haughty day by day,
So much so that we decided to have our say.
We were the ones who made you fall through the looking glass,
Not to find Wonderland like Alice, that was never the case.
But, to find yourself as you were lost in the maze,
The maze of outer beauty and superficiality,
One that has no escape as you can see.

At this point, the Lady
Nodded as if to say she agreed.
Before she could open her mouth,
She found herself back in front of her hearth.
From that day, the Lady
Valued inner beauty.
No longer did she look at her reflection,
Instead she spent her days in contemplation.

They say when the Lady of Swansea
Finally passed on,
Her soul broke into a thousand fragments
And every woman received a small part.
And to this day you can see,
How much a pure heart and an innocent soul are valued at Swansea.