The full prompt for the creative exercise was as follows:

When the flakes of snow were falling like feathers from the sky, a queen sat at a window sewing, and the frame of the window was made from black ebony.  And whilst she was sewing and looking out of the window at the snow, she pricked her finger with the needle, and three drops of blood fell upon the snow.

I had no idea where the prompt was going to take me but I did not expect the words that flowed ...

Child of Ash and Darkness
 

Sit by the blown out window,

pit-marked ebony threshold of destruction, 
look out over the market place below.
Covered in a blanket of softly falling flakes.
Not the white crisp of winter’s rest
but the grey ash of things, burned and burning.

Sit by the blown out window, with the mending
of a lifetime on your lap.  
Eyes blur with tears, 
needle slips. 
What are three more drops 
in the sea of red below?

We had daughters once.
Hair charcoal black.
Burned out, cindered market timber.
Lips ruby red.
Blood stained cheeks,
Sniper fire ceases its rhythm in the night.
Face death white.  It came for them
while we prayed in the darkness.

 

Would that there were daughters still
whose beauty we could envy.
Or a magic mirror showing reflections
full of life, just one more time.
We place the mending on the floor
no longer needed and fade 
forever, into shadows.


Fiona Mackintosh (© May 3, 2018)

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