Tales from the Woods

My children had an uncle.
He took them all out hunting,
they never did say what they sought,
out in the woods, for hours and hours
playing amongst the tall trees.
I stayed home tendling the fire,
baking the bread
and stirring the soup
in the endlessly bubbling pot
I had set to warm with the dawn.
They came back at dusk,
happy and tired
with mud on their shoes
and big sparkling eyes
and when i bathed them at night
and combed out their tangled hair,
sparkling dust fell to the floor,
twinkled and disappeared.
We saw him less and less,
but strange gifts
still arrived at the door
when a wind blew in from the west
(the time i always like best).
As they grew up, he faded,
or maybe he just went away.
The world was never the same after that,
their focus had shifted and torn,
until they had their own children
and told the old stories again.

View from Ward 10

In the past the Oak and Rowan grew
In that place that once I knew
The Silver Birch and Elder too
In whispering rows behind me stood

From this window now I watch
One lone tree against the sky
As I wait for time to pass
Pressed against this frosted glass

If perchance a winter tree
Is the last I ever see
I hope the woods remember me.

Captive Carer

i see the streets from big wide windows

i wouldn’t cage a wild bird

i see the magpies perched

on nearby roofs and chimney tops

 

i haven’t left the house for months

except for weekly hurried visits

to the bank and back again

to pay the hired help who come

for one lone hour a week and leave

 

i look up maps of nearby woods

woods to which i cannot go

i have started planting trees

within the sheltered garden walls

i see the rolling hills so distant

the snow will come to cover all

the winter nights are drawing in

 

 

The Truth

 

i made a long journey
like many before me
i had my fair share
of incidents, mishaps
some were of my own making,
others were simply there,
awaiting the unwary traveller

i learned much of the woods
how to read all the signs
and hear the approach
of the seekers of prey

i had little respect
for robbers and bandits
i had seen all their kind before
i held no vendetta against them
i dislike them neither more, nor less, now
than i did when i took to the road

i had made my own problems too
i wished to be left alone
sometimes yearning for home
it’s true

woods seem full of shadows
but darkness contrasts the light
and lets in the brightness of day
where is gleams through the branches
making clearer the safer way

i came to a clearing and rested
enjoying the peace,
listening to leaves sigh high on a breeze
above in the trees that whispered

if only i could stay
resting here forever
i looked at the paths leading on

it was a beautiful day
i felt some sense of completion

a sharp snap and an echo
the silence was gone
the sound of movement,
coming towards me,
secretly, fast

i felt a moment of panic
caught unaware
as they gathered around
to circle and slay me at last

calming my mind
i looked at the paths
the choices were many
which one should it be

i heard a signal
the voice of a raven
he stood in the sunlight
on a broad ancient branch of a tree
lit against shadow
by a path i instantly knew

it was as i had always imagined
well lit and wide open
it shone out beckoning me
nothing to fear any more
my weariness melted away
i saw i was home
this open wide path
lead straight to the door
where my soul awaited within

 

 

The Road to Lincoln

 

without sleep beneath the stars,
stumbling through the darklands
we skirted round the adder woods,
out, through silvered parklands

a moonlight, starlight princess
ahead of me, perfection,
my blanket round her shoulders
with only vague directions

we found the moonlit way to town
she walked ahead on silent feet
with many quiet miles to go
my love was real, complete

a moment came with sinking stars
imagination opened, a bright illumination,
all was as it should be, never could be
a short glimpse of liberation

without sleep beneath the stars
love remained unspoken
all was as it would be
the stars sank down, a fading token

the mystic dawn rose gently, new,
a soft mist stretched across the land
her long hair crowned with sparkling dew
we took the road to Lincoln

without sleep and wide awake
the night was over, washed away
back in noise and traffic
the harsh realities of day

i was never really as i seemed
a little lost and moonstruck
i was always wondering,
without sleep beneath the stars

Moonlight Lamp of the Faery Gathering

Out walking in the woods after midnight

I carelessly stumbled upon a  gathering

I sat down behind a gnarled oak and listened.

 

”I remember,” one said ”when the moon was closer

to earth. Our magic was far stronger then”

Above me the stars twinkled, in grass starlight glistened.

 

The gathering let out a collective sigh.

I shifted, leaves rustled, they were quickly alert.

A Fae whispered, close to my ear, ”Why are you here?”

 

”I can’t sleep, so I walk, the moon leads my path.”

”You must sleep with the moonlight upon your face” she said,

”All creatures dream deeper when the moon is near.”

 

”Throw open your curtains let the moon in.

Your dreams will come quickly, your sleep will be longer.

Sleep in the moonlight, this light will escort you.”

 

‘Your father slept with the moon flooding his face.

Did you forget all your people ever taught?

This is an old knowledge we granted. It’s true.”

 

I heard my father speak from afar in his grave

Deep in the earth beneath the dead leaves

”Ah yes the moon, bathe in its grace, follow the moon.”

 

I thanked the Faerie and stood up to leave

My father’s voice and moonlight shone in my heart

”Sleep well mortal,” said the Fae, ”Night will end soon.”

 

 

 

Shadowed

in springtime we wandered into the wood
walking through carpets of bluebells
their deep throated scent filled the air
we spoke of golden dreams, hopes shared,
tenderness, beauty, love

the air seemed to change, birds silenced,
a shift in the wind carried a chill
leaves rustled, foretelling a storm,
we drew closer together, light faded,
the wood grew still, night fell

owls hooted, trees shivered
off in the distance a twig snapped
shadows shifted, moving closer
limbs crashed down in the wood
we sought the forgotten way out

in a world full of shadows and light
lighting fires, frightened of witches,
huddled like Hansel and Gretel
holding on to each other tight
hoping to find the trail

cursed from the start
curses piling upon us
doomed by darkness and gloom
demons and traps closing in
too fast for any escape

in a world full of shadows and light
sunlight flashed through the trees as we ran
black bars pierced by illumination, too brief
we couldn’t see where we were going
how could we find our way?

finally we found a door, too narrow,
i went through it alone
‘Go!’ you said, ‘I’ll be here.’
but you became lost in there
while i wandered on in the world

the paths never took me back
it was all so long ago
i forgot
how will i ever find you now?
i have no key for that door

It

it’s out there somewhere, hovering
at the edge of my mind as i turn
it’s out there somewhere, that haunting
form, a musical note, a flute

it’s out there somewhere, in the glide
of a kestrels wing above the moors
it’s out there, somewhere it’s waiting
just beyond my reach, in light

it’s out there somewhere calling me
persistent, it pulls me, always
out to the hills, the woods, out there
somewhere on the blue horizon

it’s out there somewhere, I call out
asking it to come for me now
it’s out there somewhere, answering
follow me, move, get up, come, walk

it’s out there, somewhere inside me
in every dream and whispered sign,
footfalls to follow, blown open doors
i live with it, out there somewhere

i knew it all so clearly once
high on a rock strewn windswept Tor
i saw it spread out across the land
a flying shadow, a glow, a gleam

i heard it in the forest close
tracking my every cautious step
smiling behind my back, laughing
it’s out there somewhere, i saw

it’s out there somewhere, I know
i smelled that scent of old, ancient,
it’s out there somewhere, primordial
lobe, in the depths of memory

it’s out there somewhere, alive

 

 

 

In Arden

oberon enchants his queen

Oberon enchants his queen

 

I roam the Forest of Arden in dreams
seeking the forgotten bower, the tree
at the heart of everything, the trusty Oak
and the name that is rarely spoken now
hidden in wood, rising in smoke, sacrificed,
the Green Man rising in ancient wood

Herne the Hunter, never a nightmare to me,
I would run with his hounds and howl in the wind
leap with the sap in the wood that is green.
listen closely, they announce his coming

the snap of a twig