Zoom Spectacular Saturday Open Mic, April 16, 2022 with Interview of Sandra Rose Hughes

By Carla Joy Martin

We had a festive gathering at the Zoom Spectacular Saturday Open Mic on April 16, 2022.  Participants were Chris Nielsen, Sandra Rose Hughes, Anke Hodenpijl, Carla Joy Martin, Anna Marco and Portia Choi.

The Zoom Open Mic was video taped and can be seen at: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/aNE2dvmV85Ak8dEg2UsSGFqNZedp4_XuLhIbUjnAKRBHFewCyFzzUbT9ApugD2sL.tUHTfa17MMPRxLzL?startTime=1650157623000
Passcode: M&2g8.+E

We were entranced by the original poetry shared by Sandra Rose Hughes.  The three imaginative creations she read that evening can be found below.

These poems are going to be published on June 30th, 2022, in Hughes’ first poetry collection, Why Faeries Bite

As you will see, Hughes enjoys using fairy tales to explore spiritual and emotional themes in universal ways. 

The Grieving Land

 The king is ill, he wastes away,
He withers and he dwindles now.
A shadow blocks the light of day,
And in the hills, a distant howl
Is heard across the grieving land.

They go about their daily chores,
A milking, scouring, threshing throng,
But not a one amidst the hordes
Fails to wonder just how long
They’ll have a monarch in their land.

The queen sits weeping in her cell
And tearing out her stitching,
Her friend and husband lays there, felled,
By time’s relentless witching.    
There dwells no hope in all the land.

The king is ill, he wastes away,
He withers and he dwindles now.
A shadow blocks the light of day,
And in the hills, a distant howl
Is heard across the grieving land.

The Goblins’ Maiden

The goblins are singing, they’re calling in the night,
The goblins are jigging in a ring around the knoll,
They seek to lure the maiden past her soft-lit candle light,
The goblins are dancing neath the moonlight for her soul.
She hears the goblins crying like sweet sirens in the dark,
She wonders why the nights seem, oh, so long.
She glances out her window, believes she sees a spark
And hears the wind now echoing their song.    

Silently, so silently, she tiptoes down the staircase,
Silently, she reaches for a candle.
Silently she grabs her cloak all lined with Spanish lace
And silently she twists the copper handle.
The goblins are laughing, they’re singing in the night,
And the maiden runs intently toward the knoll.
She keeps herself in shadows, but moves toward the light,
While thinking all the time she’s in control.  

She hears the goblins crying like sweet sirens in the cold,
As she approaches nearer to the hill,
And suddenly remembers nursery tales harsh and old,
Of creatures in the dark who wish her ill.  
“Ridiculous,” she thinks, and whispers this aloud,
“There’s nothing out here evil in the night,”
The maiden stepped more lightly when the moon behind the clouds
Revealed itself and shed a cheerful light.

And in this state of mind, believing moonlight was her friend,
And nothing could be hidden in the gloom,
The maiden walked on boldly, stepped into the goblin ring;
Those goblins won’t be giving her up soon. 

Wolf Song

The wind howls.
It growls, snarls, swirls, threatens,
Curls about my cottage walls,
Seeking chinks and gaps where it might slip in.

The wind with its velvety paws
Shuffles about the door frames,
Snuffles, and whimpers, rattling the latches,
Panting, yowling, upon my threshold.

Will it ever cease howling to be let in?
It threatens my children with its chill.
Will it ever cease prowling, crying, prying at the shingles,
Rubbing its icy spine against my window panes?

I have not the power to quiet its mournful wails;  
I cannot direct the wind.
I can only latch the rough red door,
And light the crackling fire to bar the wolf’s descent down my chimney,  

I pray blessings over my door sills and thresholds.
I pray blessings over my children, who sigh, and mutter in their beds.
I pray to the Great Conductor of the Grand Symphony,
Who alone has the power to whisper to the wind.    

I pray until the howling subsides,
Changes from a crescendo to a whimper,
And my children breathe heavily, and snuggle deeper under their blankets,
Lulled by the song of the wolf. 

Q.  What was the inspiration behind your poems?  What were their backstories?  What peaked your interest or made you want to delve into their topics?

A.  I wrote “The Grieving Land” when my father (who is suffering from Kidney Failure) began growing sicker and sicker and we were concerned he would die soon. He is recovering, and we are praying for a kidney transplant. 

He is the faith-leader of my family, and a pastor and missionary, his courage and love for Jesus often makes me think of King David from the Bible. When I was afraid he was dying, I imagined it as if the whole world were grieving. 

“The Goblins’ Maiden” poem started as a few lines that appeared in my head one day and grew into a fable about the wisdom of being afraid of evil. We live in an age where women are told to be fearless, but fear can be a gift if it leads to wisdom.   

“Wolf Song” originally appeared online at aliciapollard.com for her Winter Eyrie Project. The wolf here is symbolic of storms that rage around our home, and the people in our lives who have the power to tear our family apart. Ultimately, only God can protect my children and family from the storms that rage.