Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Marie Leveau~The Queen of New Orleans

Scrawled on her tombstone~

her eyes
lit up with fire
for the dreams
she entertained...
seems something in her
knew already
just how well
they'd burn

burn they did, yet burn they do
this Creole Goddess
free born

to the clever Marguerite
and the planter at her feet
who with his lust
purchased her chains, his
now to wear and to rust

and the French Quarter girl
named Marie
dug at roots from an ancient tree
til the spirits in the night
acquiesced to her light
granting her every plea

galleg and gris-gris
they trembled yet flocked
to see the spirits
and the secrets unlocked
in dragon's blood ink
her veve was adorned
her magic was real
and not to be scorned

to the dance, they cried, "heal"
the condemned, they cried, "save"
the priests, they grew fearful
the desperate grew brave

her snake she called Zombi
which apparently pleased
and the fright it incurred
was merely a tease

the unchallenged Queen
of the Congo Square scene
has long since passed on
her magic long gone
her legend like that of a dream

but on nights
just so certain
when the moon
meets the wind
the waves of Pontchartrain
rise up once again

she still walks St. Ann
with a dress made
of white
her tignon furled seven
til nearly daylight

then the crow takes its rest
on the tomb cold and still
watching them wish
maybe, she will

May Shel Silverstein forever be cursed for writing his horrid song "Marie Leveau"
as if A Boy Named Sue hadn't been bad enough.
Marie was not ugly but quite beautiful, and though she had her faults as do we all, she was and remains, The Queen.