The beautiful Queen Oreithyia enjoyed
the taking of solitary walks in the forest behind
her estate, even in the dead of winter. Annoyed
she was not by the cold and the snow. Those she did find
invigorating and refreshing. On a particularly bright
but cold winter’s day, the sun filtered through the trees —
bare branches of oak and maple. Her face caught the light,
and Boreas, the North Wind, beheld her, and his heart was seized.
He appeared to her in the guise of a perfectly formed
winged man and begged the Queen to be his bride.
Oreithyia could sense that his heart stormed,
and spurned his advances. But Boreas would not be denied.
Angrily the Wind abandoned his seraph cloak
and assumed his true and terrible form. Through his lips
he issued a howling, biting wind that did choke
Oreithyia’s screams and shredded her clothing to strips.
Naked, she attempted to flee, but the power of the Wind
did prove too much and pitched her face down in the snow.
As her consciousness ebbed, she could feel the North Wind grind,
driving snow and cold air inside her — a relentless plow.
She awoke in her bed surrounded by heat, the hearth blazing
with fire, and all around braziers with hot coals aglow.
The Queen found the red, sweating faces of her servants amazing.
She felt the warmth not — her body was as cold as white snow.
Nine months later, a girl was born whose hair
and skin were white as snow, with eyes and lips
and nails as blue as ice — Khione — Fair
Snow White. Long of limbs and round of hips
she grew, and fine of face, with pointed teeth
that shimmered like diamonds, hard and sharp as sin.
At night she hunts in the woods alone beneath
the moon — the sun too bright for her white skin.
[The poet, author, and gentleman songster, Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD, resides in Kansas with his wife, children, and a poorly trained Airedale terrier. He maintains a part-time medical practice, is a member of the Codex Writers’ Group, and is the editor of Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine. Visit him at www.eretzsongs.blogspot.com.]