I’m proud to welcome my first guest blogger, my Twitter friend, Neil Giles. Neil has these poems and articles ‘Astrology: The Sacred Art‘ and ‘The Runes – Wisdom of the Past‘ published on The Oak Wheel.
Follow Neil on Twitter.
Neil Giles – Biography
Training: history, literature, life
Story: Captured by words – all my life ♦ Lover of the Northern myths since early childhood ♦ Passionate Celt, descended from the O’Donnells of Tir Chonaill ♦ Actor, director, playwright and circus performer for many years ♦ Oracle, writer, reader of Runes, Ogham and Tarot, Astrologer for many more years ♦ Five quiet years have followed and now live in a valley in the bush, just outside a small town in my native land.
THE GREEN MAN
Burdened with sorrow, weary of town,
in the wood unfound (as yet)
came a traveller. Low hedges
bow to greet him.
Beyond, a meadow
further, an arch of trees, beckoning
easing dark burdens with warmth,
in welcome. Deep woods
Traveller, at first easy striding,
bold on a sunlit path
now treads cautious
as the forest encircles,
eating his shadow
Air rich/putrid soil soft
prod of twig
a breath-stealing silence
patched with murmurs,
light – a passenger on leaves.
Claw of twisted branches,
twig-plaited, leaves that shiver
curling to a chill forest kiss.
Eyes watching. Whose eyes?
Leaf hiss twig crack, a traveller
interrupted turns. Who’s that between
the stalks of a shadow? Uneasy breeze.
It is the Green Man
White wet smear of ghostwood limb
a spectre at a feast of trees.
Skin-scratching fear, awkwardly paired
with desire not nameable
muscled skew of wood & leaf
wisp of not belonging, blown in.
Bent mouth in grim visage, Green Man speaks –
‘Would you dare to lose your head?’
Gnarled fingers jagged on his shoulder
traveller’s fearful eyes held
by unflinching gaze
Pain … a vagrant past,
before swept aside by sunlight
now rolls back.
‘Come. I’ll teach you forest ways.’
says a midnight voice
Voice & gaze break him.
He falls, weeping in strong arms
and is comforted …
for wild things see the pain within
‘Come. Feel as you have never done.’
Neither fierce nor gentle the voice
no order or command
a subtly inflected question
Tender, kiss of dew,
the Green Man takes the traveller’s face
into his spindle hands.
Gazing deep, a leaf falls,
Spins him around, wraps him,
eats him –
the forest fills him as he,
by turns, becomes
some other thing
willow seeking water
fir probing sky
gnat on acorn
salmon in pond
– dizzying, impossible. Forest canopy opens
Sky-wrack, storm & lightning
drenched by rain
awash in mud & grass
yet clean again. Last corkscrew of pain ,,,
… threads tear away
‘You’re empty. Forest will fill you. Come.’
Green Man hand takes wisp of fingers.
They vanish into leaves
are the memory
of the world. They are silent
sentinels, watchers of the earth, measuring
the countless ages, passing on their mysteries and
their lore from one generation to the next. They are mighty
giants, guardians at the threshold of the secret places of the land.
They are hidden whisperers, inhabiting the quiet and the night, passing
messages that come softly on the breeze or drumming on the winds. They
are dreamers, poised majestically, endlessly still in moments of lazy
sunlight. They are travellers, moving slowly, almost imperceptibly toward
some further destination that we may never know or understand. They are
bridges over air and land and water, giving safe passage to those who walk
with knowledge and respect. They are shields against sunfire and
nightcold, giving shelter, food and warmth for those in need. Trees are the
people of the deeps. Their spirit is of the far places from which
we all come and to which we must return.
Trees witness all that
passes in the nine
realms of the world and
discuss such matters in
their secret congress
of the forest. A tree
may be alone, an
acrobat balanced on
a crag or one of many
massed in winding,
twisting paths that
summon the wanderer
on a journey into mysterious
lands. Trees may point the way ahead or conceal it. They gather in
numbers at places of power, remembering a time when all the world was forest.
They are the wise ones, holding eternal court beneath the roof of stars.
TO AUTUMN’S LAST LEAF
An Autumn coronet, sweet burn of gold,
Last leaves aflame, all else is faded green.
This fiery kiss a plea ‘gainst bleaching cold;
Remorseless comes the mist and Winter’s Queen.
There’s food within, a fire’s in the grate.
Abroad, the furious steeds of darken’d air
Do clash their hooves with crack of thunder bold.
Rain threatens, still I hesitate,
Transfixed, my gaze upon a branch that’s nearly bare;
Grey fingers clutch the sparks they cannot hold.
All beautiful artwork in this post is by award winning, professional artist Emma Childs. View her other works at E.J.L. Original Art.
Follow Emma on Twitter.