8 February 2017


They quietly gathered round the fire,
in unison that transcended their custom.
Oak trees bent over the circular clearing,
mourning branches fed to the flames,
half-pacified by an overarching consolation:
these men would never re-animate their blood
by growing boughs instead of limbs.
One passed the crackling leaves,
travelling eager hands, that is
ones not wetting fingers in the dew,
not tearing at the grass, bowing aghast,
or seeking solace in the moist earth.
Soon the Second recounted dreams,
Third chewed and spat, hissing ash,
eyes ablaze, Fourth only listened,
the Fifth wove mist out of moonlight,
Sixth wept lost love, a doomed alliance,
divining haloed fragments, pleading,  
the tearing wood and swarming sparks,
while Seventh slept for them all, on foot,
trailing the riving tongues’ glow.  

Feast your being on the flames, said First,
old boys, before you the swaying portal,
the smouldering gateway, seeing is key
and speech is the breathing tunnel,
its gullet speaks you, wears you,
eats you. Fear not, my old
transmogrifying sons,
strip your hides,
hurl the bare
bodies in. 

First left them by the embers, mouths ajar,
third-eye agape, and rushed into the dark
woods, moon falling behind his back,
consuming all that crossed his path,
from mud and gravel, to fungi and grass,
to twigs and trees, and animals fleeing: Except
he, the ravaging beast, One with the forest.