Isolated is not a good way to be.
Asking for reassurance from friends, I got some really wonderful feels.
I matter, even if I can’t see it all the time.
A poem is not just words, it’s the condensed emotions pressing into a mind through phrases that mean more than they say, it’s a slice of a soul given without a price and received without boundary.
A poet is not just someone that writes poems… It takes a deeper disturbance in the mind.
I don’t call myself a poet.
I am disturbed. I am damaged. I am paying attention to every goddamned word and feeling and eye-flutter. I am reading tea leaves and watching the wind play with flower petals.
I am trying to write a life, here.
I am trying to feel everything.
I am hurting myself on purpose, for the sake of…
I am colossally fuckered up, in here.
I appreciate how I seem to others.
I am thankful for the love that floods my life, the tide that lifts all boats.
I am also suffering greatly, for loving what has been lost. For losing what has been loved. For living a true life, and caring about the moments.
I am also suffering from too little sleep and too much stress.
I’ll be here,
Even if I say goodbye.
The sunlight through the clear stone was warm. The cub moved the stone side-to-side and watched the light change color. Red, yellow, green, blue, the cub lay on his side and pushed the stone with his paws.
As the light turned yellow again, the cub heard something from above. Looking up into the trees around him, he spotted the falcon from the willow tree sitting on a branch high above the forest floor. The falcon watched him, unmoving.
Their eyes locked and the cub felt something pass through his body, warmth spreading from his chest to his legs. Time seemed to stand still as the wolf and falcon gazed at each other.
Pain shot through the wolf cub’s paw and his eyes darted quickly down. The clear stone had light shining through it, and where the light fell on some fallen pine needles, a bright red burst of heat was growing.
Jumping back, the wolf cub watched in horror as the flame consumed the needles and started reaching up the nearby tree. The heat grew intense, billowing out from the flame and leaping up the tree trunk.
One burning tree became two, then three. The fire seemed angry, lashing out at all of the world.
The wolf cub ran.
The fire chased.
Reaching his pack’s den, the cub started howling and barking at his family.
“Go! We must go!”
His packmates looked at him as though he were mad and started yipping at him.
“Why?” “What happened?” “What’s wrong?”
“What did you do?”
The last question was growled from the throat of his sire. A huge black and grey wolf, the pack leader stood a few paces away, hackles raised.
“What did you do?”
The cub shrunk away, fearful of his sire’s anger. He had seen many times his sire challenged by other wolves, and every time the challengers had limped away bleeding, or died.
“Fire,” the cub whined. “It comes.”
Sniffing the air, the pack leader stared the cub down. “What part of this do you own?”
“The clear stone, it let’s light through, and-”
A sharp growl cut off the rest of his words, and the pack leader leapt toward the cub. Bowling him over with a shoulder thrust, the great Wolf leaned in close and snapped his massive jaws at the young wolf.
“Your fault. You, with your games. You have never been what you should be. This ends, now.”
Lunging toward the young wolf’s throat, jaws gaping, the big wolf was surprised by the younger wolf’s shoulder in his chest. A fierce push set the bigger wolf back on his heels, and the two started circling each other.
“So, the pup wants to play,” the older beast spoke with derision. “Come at me, then, pup.”
Feinting toward the young wolf’s face, then snapping at his flank, the big jaws ripped a gash along the young wolf’s side.
Falling back, then quickly jumping toward his sire, the cub bit down hard on the big wolf’s front leg. Blood filled his mouth as he shook his head, and he heard a cracking noise as the leg broke in his jaws.
As he let go, the bigger wolf turned and closed his jaws on the young wolf’s neck, just behind his shoulders.
A sharp scream filled the air then, and a grey blur from the sky became the falcon, swooping down and burying her talons in the great wolf’s eyes. As she pulled away the older wolf snapped his jaws up at her, and found purchase in her leg. Stabbing with her beak, the falcon ripped the great wolf’s face open as she flew out of reach.
Wounded grievously and blinded, the great wolf snarled and snapped his jaws aimlessly, hopping in a circle with his broken leg lifted.
The young cub closed quickly, sinking his jaws into the soft throat of the old wolf. Clamping down and shaking, the cub tasted his sire’s life passing through his jaws.
Motionless on the ground, the great wolf died with a small whimper, and the young wolf backed away.
Looking around, he spotted the falcon on a branch above. Bleeding from her leg, she looked down at the blood-covered wolf. She gathered her strength and leapt into the air with a short squawk.
The smell of smoke and the crackling of flames consuming the forest got the cub moving. With a final glance at his deceased sire, he raced after the falcon, through the forest.
You are Curiosity
Seven moons had passed since the cub found the strange tree-thing in the clearing. He had grown strong, almost as big as his sire. Learning to hunt had made him fast and agile.
However, the cub had a tendency toward being distracted easily. His sire and packmates were often displeased by the cub’s flights of fancy.
Your first duty is to your pack, his sire would tell him. Chasing butterflies won’t fill your belly, or your pack’s.
Roaming far away from the pack’s den, the cub had found many things that he did not understand. A half day’s walk from the den the cub found a great expanse of sparkling rocks and water that stretched forever.
For hours the cub would walk through the rocks, listening to the murmur of the water as it caressed the stones. Each rock was different, an array of colors and shapes unlike anything to be found in the forest. Gray birds flew over the rocks and landed at the edge of the water. The cub would chase them into the air, then run away as they screeched at him and dived at his heels, swooping down where he had been. The cub thought it great fun to see the surprise in the bird’s eyes when he would stop and snap his jaws at them. The squawking and sudden changes of direction filled his heart with mischievous joy.
At the end of the sparkling rocks a huge stone sat, with a giant willow tree growing over the top. The cub would sit under its low-hanging branches and stare through the leaves, for some reason the place filled him with peace and a small sadness.
On this day the cub crept quietly under the canopy of willow branches and heard a soft crooning sound. Looking up, the cub saw a falcon sitting alone in the highest branches. The bird stepped side-to-side and made the soft sound with eyes closed.
A small chuff escaped the cub’s throat, and the falcon’s eyes opened quickly. Staring down at the cub for a moment, the falcon slowly extended her wings. A small shake off her beak startled the cub back on his heels, then the falcon leapt into the air and flew away.
The cub watched the graceful flight, feeling a deep sense of envy for the effortless way the falcon swept through the sky.
To be so free…
The cub stayed under the willow tree until sunset, hoping the falcon would return. As the sun dropped into the water he started for home. As he reached the edge of the sparkling rocks a glint of light caught his eye. Sitting half-buried in the sand under the rocks was a stone unlike any the cub had seen. Gripping with his teeth, the cub pulled the strange stone up then dropped it on the ground. Perfectly clear except for a small mark on the center, the stone caught the light from the setting sun and made colors dance on the other side.
The cub picked his treasure up and started running for the forest. His sire and packmates would not understand, but the cub had to see what else this light-stone could do with light.
At the edge of the forest, the cub paused and looked back at the willow tree. He saw the falcon flying over the branches, seemingly looking towards the forest.
I wonder if she can see me…
Matt looked up from the laptop screen to see Jennifer smiling at him.
“I’m going to bed now. Will you be very long?” The twinkle in her eyes promised Matt that waiting too long would be a poor choice, as she smiled widely and raised one eyebrow.
“I’ll be right there, lovey. A few more paragraphs.”
Jennifer leaned over and kissed Matt softly, and whispered, “Hurry. I need you.”
The Crafter placed the last mark on the statue with his blade, and stepped back with a sigh. Looking at the row of wooden mannequins he had built, a sense of relief washed over his mind. He had finished the Green Lady’s task, with a few hours to spare. The moon was full, and would soon reach its zenith.
Rushing to the large cabin at the end of the sand, the Crafter took off his hat as he approached her, sitting and staring at the water.
“My Lady, the work is done. I’ve finished.” His deep voice startled the Green Lady from her contemplation, and she looked at him with a smile.
She stood, thirty feet tall, her body constituted of trees and flowers. Her green hair flowed around her verdant body, small woodland creatures crawling over and through her tangled vines and branches. She stretched her limbs toward the sky, closing her glowing eyes against the wind and spray from the waves crashing against the rocky outcrop in front of the cabin. Towering over the Crafter, she shook her head slightly.
“The work has just begun.”
She walked over to the row of thirteen carved figures, as her botanical arms reached for her sides. Reaching the first, the Green Lady tore a glowing mass of living wood from her body, a pulsing, throbbing piece of her being, and began to sing. A soft, wordless melody flowed from her wooden lips, dancing down her arms and flowing like fire to swirl around her hands as they placed the living wood against the chest of the first statue. Light escaped from the statue’s eyes as the piece of the Green Lady melted into its heart.
Now a living man, the carved figure smiled. The Green Lady looked into his eyes and said,
“You are Hope. All will hold you, and feel both the beauty of your touch, and the cold cut of your blade.”
The glowing man nodded, and immediately turned and ran away from the beach, heading for the forest beyond the sand dunes.
She walked down the row, tearing pieces of her body away and placing them in the statues as she sang. With each new life created, she whispered identifying words to the creatures.
“You are Strength, you will lift the broken and defend the weak.
You are Love, you will tie together the souls of the earth.
You are Laughter, your sound will be a blessing to those who hear you.
You are Music, you will provide the beat for the dance.
You are Curiosity, you will lead wanderers down new paths.
You are Observation, you will see what is real, and make clear the skies.
You are Magic, you will hide in the spaces where belief is real.
You are Time, you will mark the passing of the sun, and bring new beginnings.
You are Wonder, your innocence will delight the hearts of those who know you.
You are Loyalty, you will stand unmoved in the face of storms.
You are Truth, you will reveal to all their true selves, and be hated by the weak.”
With each piece taken from her body she became smaller, each imbued being turning immediately away from the water and running. The Green Lady tore from herself the pieces of reality and placed them in her servants, and diminished herself with each step, until she empowered the last statue with a sob, saying, “You are Sadness, you will follow every other servant, and prove their worth.”
Now only five feet, seven inches tall, her body slim and lithe, her long green hair danced on the ocean breeze. She turned to the Crafter, and said weakly,
“Take me back to the cabin, please, dear.”
The Crafter wrapped her arm around his broad shoulders and walked her slowly back to her home.
The Crafter could scarcely believe both what he had seen, and the lightness of The Green Lady. Her once imposing figure was now smaller than his, and her weight was nothing to his broad frame. He smiled at her and lowly rumbled, “Well, that’s done now, My Lady.”
She smiled at him again as he helped her down to the earth in front of her cabin. He placed her carefully against the rocks which she had formerly dwarfed, now four times her size. She rested against the rock for a moment, closing her eyes. She looked at The Crafter, and began to cry, as she whispered, “There is yet one more task. You are a good and faithful servant, Jediah. Thank you for all you have been, for me. Your work has been masterful. You will be ever remembered by this world.”
The Crafter started to speak, to protest her praise, but a quick flash of light from her eyes stopped him. She beckoned to him, and he knelt before her. Reaching her thin hands toward her chest, she began to sing. She pulled a throbbing light from herself, and placed it against the Crafter’s chest. As it melted into his body, her feet dug into the earth, her body grew rigid as the Green Lady became a lovely willow tree, standing alone against a rocky outcrop, by the ocean. Her face disappeared as she whispered to the Crafter,
“You are Poetry, and you will ignite the fires of their hearts.”
The Crafter wept as he turned toward the forest and ran, leaving the lonely, lovely willow alone on her beach. The tree grew rapidly, soon towering over the rocks, as The Green Lady had before.
Matt wiped a tear from his eye as he typed the last word. He saved his writing and shut down the laptop, then walked into the bedroom.
As he lay down next to Jennifer, she reached her hand to his, and whispered, “I love you.”