Grief and Rage


Swollen with soft sweet scent
Of meadowsweet and sap
The heavy laden air
Bloated forest glade.
Dappled light flickered
Spilling lucent coin and
Splashing bough and branch
With gold, as they swayed
To summer song,
Soft siren wind-borne sigh,
A gentle swaying motive chant
That cast its spell
And sang the glade to sleep.
Ensorceled too by sun and song
Cool shrouded canopy of green
Sapped all beneath hot afternoon sun.
At the window sat an Old Man grieving.
Not for remembrance
Of things long since past,
Lovers lost, chances missed,
Or fortunes fickle flight,
But for the son that slept
And tossed and turned
And would not see the winter next.
Though the man would gladly
Travel in his place, West across the sea,
Away from light to sleep,
To sleep the sleep of shriven soul
And wait the summons to return,
However long that that might be.
The room was cold despite
The honeyed light that seeped within
And spread like treacle.
The future was not bright
But shrouded in the blight,
Dark taint, gripped him tight,
Absence filled the room.
Outside, high upon the Oak
But close enough to see
The Owl looked in
And watched the augured
Futures branch,
Before it settled
On this particular branch.
It stirred and feathers fluffed,
Beak ajar in heat,
Sharp and meant to rend,
Eyes that raged
As big as saucers,
Drank the light
And dreamed of
Flesh torn rodents,
And also soft warm gentle kisses
Meadowsweet and broom.
Talons clenched,
It gripped the present now,
And glared at Oak and Holly.
Under foot it also gripped
A sprig of Apple blossom,
And patient still despite its
Unquenched bitter bile of rage
Through all the long years waiting,
It waited still, in hope, to see the way.
It tensed, a window opened,
It spread its wings
In the end,
And launched
Into a new beginning.

© Greg Richards

Part 1 of my Welsh Folklore Chapbook (Title yet to be fixed)


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