The forest slept, and my unsteady feet
pursued a path through thicket, thorn, and bush
to long-forgotten shrines of nature’s heart.
With youthful rage and little thought besides,
my hands began a work of ill design–
to burn and break; as I was, deep inside.
As forest’s heart succumbed to ash and fire
and critters fled in fear of wrathful acts–
perpetuated by a foolish child–
the spirits of the forest mourned as one.
Their stirring cries awoke a kindred soul.
Emerging from the depth of night, the war-
rior was tall and fair. A crown of this-
tle tangled in his hair and silver eyes
observed my every move. The knight removed
a golden sword and lashed a mark upon
my skin. He grinned, his mouth too wide and long;
and death itself could not instill such fear.
I fled as fast as stumbling feet would go
into the boughs I once destroyed with glee.
Behind, the calls of wild pursuit came near;
but trees gave shelter I did not deserve
and kept the raging fae from drawing near
until, at last, the knight perceived my lair.
The golden flash of sword ripped through the air;
into my chest, the precious metal plunged.
A sting of fire encroached upon my core
and I awoke amid a plain of ash.
Inside the ring of blackened trees I’d felled,
my smoke-filled lungs expunged themselves at last.
The hunt of night before was but a dream,
and yet my weary thoughts could not forsake
the memory of shelter in the dark.
I plunged my hands into the ashy soil
and grew myself amid the ruined earth.
It’s been a while since I’ve written in iambic pentameter, but I decided to try it out again as practice for a book I’m about to write where certain characters only speak in iambic. It’s a fun exercise either way, and I hope you all enjoy what I was able to come up with this time.
I love the idea of a character finding respite in a place she tried to destroy and then mourning for the destruction that she caused. The last line, where she says she grew herself, was purposefully ambiguous. The story is a fairy tale, so I wanted the reader to decide whether growing herself was a reference to emotional maturity or if it was literal growth as the narrator became a tree to replace what she’d taken from the world.
Some of my writing practice from here on out will most likely include themes of nature and magic while I’m working on my current book. I tend to focus my writing practice on certain elements that will be helpful in crafting the themes and prose of whatever larger story I’m trying to tell. This type of practice also builds a certain level of excitement in me with regard to the books I write. It’s always exciting to try out new things that I might be able to use to improve my prose.
Anyway, thank you so much for reading my poem! I’ll see you again next week with something new!