What body, what home, what trust
cannot be broken?
“The Estrangement of Melusine”
A Fairy Tale in Verse
A tale of alienation and of grief:
the woman as serpent,
divided in body,
from any home, from every love,
and from God.
Praise for Becca Menon’s Melusine
“The poet of ‘Melusine’ manages the difficult trick of writing in a voice that’s both archaic and contemporary, the voice of the teller of tales. The story is old; the magic in it is traditional magic; but she gives the magic a contemporary theological spin, and the snake-woman of so many tales becomes our mirror. And how deftly she uses form.” — Alicia Suskin Ostriker, Poet, Critic, Midrashist
Is there love that knows no betrayal?
Miniature extraite du Roman de Mélusine de Couldrette
No wonder the fairy Melusine was sad: she didn’t know JUMBO THE ELEPHANT.
In French there’s an idiom for uttering the utterly unbearable: “Pousser des cris de Mélusine”- to cry out as does Melusine. These are the heartrending howls of tearing, of separation, of grief for the self, for the beloved.
According to legend, Melusine still cries whenever a member of the House of Lusignan is about to die. Each parting is a new estrangement. Her exile becomes a no-place, where, invisible, untouchable, she hovers nearby, exiled from every form of love – except loving.
Delve into the fairy’s myth
in shape-shifting verse
with forms invented to reflect
serpent, woman, spirit,
and her human story.
Sculpture of the Fairy Melusine
(Emblem of Lusignan)
Church of St. Sulpice