ALEXANDRA FRASER lives in Grey Lynn. After some years teaching science she now has a part-time job in a doctor’s office, which leaves her time to write. She is fortunate this year in being accepted into the NZSA mentor programme.

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       Andromeda

       I am Andromeda
       chained to the rock
       waiting for my hero
       watching the dragon come near

       He consumes the horizon
       His constituent parts
       are weakness:
       venial sins, indolence,
       accidie, despair
       Combined, they give strength
       to that great wingspan
       that hovering darkness
       that devouring breath

       Each night you rescue me
       from my dragon
       Each day I return to
       the rock


       Pagan Song

       Prelude

       In the early dawn of Solstice Eve
       I rise, and go to a secluded corner
       Of a nearby field, to my chosen tree,
       Branches spare against the pale sky.
       With care I tie small skulls, bird and rat,
       The jawbone of a cat. A hare’s foot,
       And feathers of crow, and blown gull eggs.
       Around the trunk , thick candles of beeswax
       Honey, red wine, and bread.
       Sacrifice to the God of beginnings

       Intermezzo

       The day before Xmas I choose
       A young radiata pine from a pile
       Outside the supermarket.
       At home it stands in the sitting room corner
       I add tinsel, gold balls, little white angels.
       Connect up the fairy lights. How pretty.
       Oh, and a star on the top, and a baby Jesus in a manger
       To remind us what Xmas is really about.
       And such a pile of presents at the base
       How festive it all looks.
       No, I don’t think Xmas is too commercial
       It’s all about families and giving, isn’t it?

       Reprise

       Christmas morning in the dawn
       I see my festive baubled tree,
       And in its shadow, there the spare
       And ghostly branches, the skulls,
       The wax candles burnt low
       From that long, dark night
       While we waited
       For the light of the God.