…Which should probably be called Alchemical April or something like that, as it is no longer March! Still feels like it though, still very cold outside with a chilly winter wind that has teeth in it. Warmer weather is on its way though, and the daffodils are flowering, and in other news I finally finished (I think) my poem ‘Once’ – the first draft was posted in Mythic March Part One, but I’ve done quite a bit of work on it since then and am reasonably happy with the finished poem! (Or as happy as I ever am with my poetry anyway, being usually convinced of its poor quality…)
Once, garbed in hope and youthful dreams,
naïve in velvet and silk, and lace at my cuffs,
I dared your forests, the rose and bramble that
barred my path, walled you in, or so I thought.
The forest pared me down to muscle, ivy
twined around tree trunk bones, and
my youthful bravado was left by the wayside, a sword
encased in stone, brambles
claiming pieces of me as I passed.
I did my fools dance to twig snap and birdsong,
moon struck, moon guided,
my once vaunted finery torn, as I slowly
became woods creature adorned with blood and sap,
time and the weary miles already travelled,
the colours that marked me a stranger in a strange land
left on tree branches and thorns,
bargained away to the witch in her cave,
or given to the stranger by the wayside,
and I’ve pitched gladly down rabbit holes,
chased ravens, and
sung with blackbirds, wild and crazy.
My velvets have metamorphosed into moss and myth, treeish;
the language of plants on my tongue, and
as I’ve observed spells in the owl’s flight
the passage of time and trees has consumed all, eternal,
moments and days flying by on the wings of birds,
leaves on the wind.
These lessons have I learned, reluctantly at first –
how to see the jewel in a toad’s eye, and
leap with the salmon.
How to dance with foxes and sing their song while
still hearing my own.
The taste of tears like rain in all it’s seasons,
and the feel of callouses on my hands and feet.
The mark of corvids by my eyes,
gained by long weeks of scouring these woods, always for you.
And when, at long last, I
walked out of this forest, claiming pieces of myself
from tree and thorn, and
trying to regain the name I once had, I
arrived at your sleeping palace, no longer a prince, but instead
huntsman, seer, wizard;
those arched, mythic gates opened wide, and
you greeted me – wide awake, sunrise in your eyes – and said
‘At last, here is a fit mate
for the Queen of the Perilous Wood.’
And I realised that you were never asleep at all, never lost,
never in need of rescue.
It was always I.