I’ve been reading a collection of short stories by L.M. Montgomery, beloved author of Anne of Green Gables. The stories were chosen because they reflect the darker side of Montgomery’s writing, and include supernatural elements as well as crime, tragedy, and despair. They aren’t grim or gritty, though, and contain some lovely turns of phrase and descriptive passages that have made me smile in delight, such as the following, which simply begged to be turned into a poem.
Nor can I paint her to you
in words as I saw her then, with the long
tongues of firelight licking her
white neck and wavering over the rich
masses of her red-gold hair.
All the passion and fire of her
foreign nature burned in her splendid
eyes, that might have been
dark or light for aught
that I could ever tell, but which seemed
always like pools of warm
flame, now tender, now fierce.
Her skin was like a delicate white
rose leaf, and when she spoke
I told my foolish self that
never had I heard music before;
nor do I ever again think to hear
a voice so sweet, so liquid as that
which rippled over her ripe lips.
– L.M. Montgomery, “The Red Room”
(from Among the Shadows, edited by Rea Wilmshurst, 1991 Bantam edition, p. 141)