A Child in the Forest


They told her not to go into the woods,
so of course she went anyway, wanting
to be lost, searching for a wolf to spirit
her far from where the tall trees gathered.
She crooned to the sky, oh wildish things
show me the way. A grey shape came,
he was from a fairy-tale, another time,
and place. She was a willing sacrifice,
lying at his feet, earthed on a mossy bed,
waiting to sleep, a long time in her bones.
He did not kill; in the woods, life begins.
When this tale is spoken, night descends,
stars prick out and a bone white moon
creeps over your shoulder. She returned
as day was breaking, carrying the ragged
threads of wolf breath in her heart,
exhaling lifetimes that ask, who are you,
and where are your people? The answers
are found sleeping in the earth, when you
fall and skin your knees, as you shadow
through dark passageways, wailing night
circles, in secrets that make your hair stand up.
Do not forget the fairy tales, what we have suffered
for, how far we have come.

Alison Jones

If you have any comments on this poem,  Alison Jones would be pleased to hear from you.