“11 Swans’ by Jules Shinbrot

Image result for Swan Wings Feathers

I know I’ve done some evil things,

tormented the daughter of the king,

turned royal arms into swan wings…

I regret nothing.

The king chose to marry me,

unaware he killed my family.

Little did the ancient fool know,

he paid the price for his cruelty.

He outlawed magic in his kingdom,

believing all sorcery caused pain.

Witch trials and public hangings,

stained his twenty-five year reign.

The knights executed my entire coven,

to “protect the kingdom from downfall”

but no soldier could prevent the king

from marrying the wickedest witch of all.  

I cast a spell on eleven princes,

Swans by day, humans by night,

forced to flee their white palace,

surrender their royal birthright.

If only I hadn’t underestimated her,

the one royal child I couldn’t curse.

With the help of the fairy queen,

my spell was reversed.

At least the nettles cut her fingers,

leaving bruises on delicate hands.

As bloody as mine, when I covered

graves with dirt and sand.

The princess became mute

to protect her feathered brothers.

My silence for twenty-five years

didn’t save my sisters and mother.   

Death claimed the king for himself,                    

freeing him from his weary limbs.

He survived long enough to see

all his children abandon him.

The youngest brother will forever

have a swan wing instead of an arm.

Even the fairy queen can’t remedy

the remaining magic of my charm.

A constant reminder for the royalty:

they will never be free of me.

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