This is not going to be a happy blog. If you’re very fond of Marion Zimmer Bradley, I suggest you stop reading now. I’m not kidding.
Marion was one of my first inspirations, alongside Tolkien. I loved her and I devoured all her books. Mists of Avalon changed my life. And now I’m in shock and I don’t know what to feel, what to believe. Her daughter, Moira Greyland, has come forward about her mother’s child abuse. I know it’s dreadful of me, but a tiny part hoped it wasn’t true, that she was lying. I know it’s too late. Marion is dead, we can’t ask her anymore, can’t bring her to justice, if there is such a thing in this case. But reading some of the facts, made my skin crawl and I realized, oh my god, she isn’t lying. This is the undeniable truth and it is monstrous.
An entire shelf took up her books. The emptiness of that shelf is silently screaming at me, how to go on? Taking them down, one by one, I felt like I was touching filth, tainting me as I touched them. Moira went public last month on a blog and there was one particular poem that broke my heart, she wrote it as a eulogy.
I would like to share it with you, to remind us all, child abuse has no place in our world. Marion, I don’t know what was wrong with you, you just broke my heart, but I’m very grateful your daughter had the strength to come forward and go public. Otherwise I would have been living a lie. I’m a big believer in truth and justice. I thought you were too. I was wrong.
© 2000 Moira Stern (Moira Greyland) in “honor” of my mother, Marion Zimmer Bradley
I lost my mother late last year
Her epitaph I’m writing here
Of all the things I should hold dear
Remember Mother’s hands
Hands to strangle, hands to crush
Hands to make her children blush
Hands to batter, hands to choke
Make me scared of other folk
But ashes for me, and dust to dust
If I can’t even trust
They sent me sprawling across a room
The bathtub nearly spelled my doom
Explaining my persistent gloom
Remember Mother’s hands.
And hands that touched me way down there
I still pretend that I don’t care
Hands that ripped my soul apart
My healing goes in stop and start
Never a mark did she leave on me
No concrete proof of cruelty
But a cross-shaped scar I can barely see
The knife in Mother’s hands.
So Mother’s day it comes and goes
No Hallmark pretense, deep red rose
Except blood-red with her actions goes
It drips off Mother’s hands.
The worst of all my mother did
Was evil to a little kid
The mother cat she stoned to death
She told to me with even breath
And no remorse was ever seen
Reality was in between
Her books, her world, that was her life
The rest of us a source of strife.
She told me that I was not real
So how could she think I would feel
But how could she look in my eyes
And not feel anguish at my cries?
And so I give you Mother’s hands
Two evil, base, corrupted hands
And lest her memory forget
I’m still afraid of getting wet.
The bathtub scene makes me see red
With water closing over my head
No little girl should fear to die
Her mother’s fury in her eye!
But both her hands were choking me
And underwater again I’d be
I think she liked her little game
But I will never be the same
I’m still the girl who quakes within
And tries to rip off all her skin
I’m scared of water, scared of the dark
My mother’s vicious, brutal mark.
In self-admiring tones she told
Of self restraint in a story old.
For twice near death she’d beaten me,
And now she wants my sympathy.
I’ve gone along for quite awhile,
Never meant to make you smile
But here and now I make my stand
I really hate my mother’s hands.