Carol Ann Duffy

The Mistletoe Bride

The December bride who, bored
with dancing, skipped from the castle hall
to play hide-and-seek, a white bird
flickering into the dark…

                                         The groom,
who searched each room, calling
her new name; then the bridal guests,
flame-lit, scouring the grounds…

The fifty Christmases till a carpenter 
jemmied an old oak chest; the skeleton
with its unstrung pearls, loose emeralds,
rings of diamond, sapphire, gold…

the running feet, the shouting for others
to see what he’d seen; mistletoe
in the loose bones of a hand;
love-like, patiently green.