I went into the forest, searching
For elegant sylphs, beautiful goddesses
Of familiar, pristine grace.
I found dense briars, tangling,
Thorny thickets, mud slick trails
To badger sets and nowhere,
Trampling predecessors vanished.
Walking beneath ancient boughs
Amongst bulging bowls, mighty trunks.
Deer trods and flood paths,
Forgotten streams, deep banks
No gilded Goddess called to me
No angel led the way,
No answers came.
I waded the wood mud
‘Till it crusted my skin,
Tore that skin bloody in brambles,
Tangled leaves into hair knots,
Grew a thick pelt against winter.
Walked my feet into leather
Leather into hoof and horn.
Ribbonned clothes into feathers
Found claws for fingertips.
I made love with the trees
And grew sharp tusks to root
Alongside the boar. I slept with lynx
Rolled in deer musk, licked blood
From fresh snow, sucked berries
And learned the raven’s song.
I grew ivy from my temples
Birds in my hair, roosting
Pouches of flesh to hold apples.
Found my own milk flow
And those who would feed.
Gave birth to wild bee swarms,
Wrote letters to the moon, in smoke.
Became bristle, blood, belligerence.
Became mud hunger desire.
Became wood and wasteland,
Bleak moor and mountain
Left trails to lead you astray
Waiting for you to follow.
Come you for a taste of leafmould
And tusk sharp wild woman kisses.