National Poetry Month:The Griesly Wife by John Manifold

By Andrea Bledsoe King

When I was very young my father, Ralph Bledsoe, Jr. would read me this poem quite often. My dad, now age 72, has been smoking since he was 17 or 18 so when he read me this eerie poem, his deep, gravelly voice made quite an impact on me. Someday, I will have to record him reading this piece aloud.

 

 

 

The Griesly Wife

by John Manifold

“Lie still, my newly
married wife,
Lie easy as you can.
You’re young and ill
accustomed yet
to sleeping with a
man.”

The snow lay thick,
the moon was full
And shone across the
floor.
And the young wife
went with ne’er a
word

Barefooted to the door.
He up and followed
sure and fast,
The moon shone clear
and white.
But before his coat
was on his back
His wife was out of
sight.

He trod the trail
where’er it turned
By many a mound and
scree,
And still the barefoot
track led on,
And an angry man was
he.

He followed fast, he
followed slow,
And still he called
her name,
But only the wild
dogs out in the hills
Yowled back at him
again.

His hair stood up
along his neck,
His angry mind was
gone,
For the track of the
two bare feet gave out
And a four-foot track
went on.

Her nightgown lay
upon the snow
As it might upon the
sheet,
But the track that
led from where it lay
Was ne’er of human
feet.

His heart turned over
in his chest,
He looked from side
to side,
And he thought more
of his blazing fire,
Than he did of his
griesly bride.

And first he started
walking back
And then began to
run,
And his quarry
wheeled at the end of
her track
And hunted him in
turn.

Oh, long the fire may
burn for him
And open stand the
door,
And long may the bed
wait empty:
For he’ll never see it
more.

 

 

Share this...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *