MARY CRESSWELL is a Wellington poet who lives on the Kapiti Coast. Her latest book, Nearest and Dearest, to be published by Steele Roberts in mid-2009, is a collection of satiric verse dealing with life in the workplace, with the ups and downs of romance, and with life in general.

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Willow Green Willow

“Each night I wonder what the beast will do to me tomorrow”
(spraypainted on a Belfast wall)

She loved the beast for a hundred years, and he loved her. So it had been ruled on each page of the deep book in the black tower, and so it was each night she was there to greet the white moon in silks and satins. In her heart, though, she wondered if this was really what it was all about. Indeed, the beast was kind, but she wanted to be as the other women, to laugh with them when they kneeled by the stream and washed and gossiped under the green willows.

So that last night, when the beast gently opened the door and crept towards her in love, she plunged the dagger into her own heart. She looked up at him entreatingly. Tomorrow, she begged, will you bury me under the green willows? And the beast did, cutting down the greatest and finest tree to make space to do so.

And from the wood he made him a cricket bat, and the magic was such that whenever he took up the bat he hit at least a century. Often more. He was greatly admired. Such is the power of love.