Writing Competition Runner Up: Robyn Curtis

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Through The Wood


Don't fear this wood
though its thin growth shivers your skin;
these mists and whispers,
this slightness is your own voice;
it doesn't matter
what shape, what leaning, each leaf, tree
what weeping, what bright blazing -
each has his own mould;
once you too were floating spores
settling on the skin of ripe fruits
like a balm or an irritation,
a bloom or a pallid woe;
briar can cling, entwine with runners
but puts her own roots in the soil;
a seed falling on good ground doesn't need a gardener.
so take wing with the linnets in the evening;
settle on a branch
fly off
tap tap the earth where you will
perch on the shoulder of another
they will be pleased to hold your weight a while.
And if there's bleeding from thorn and bramble
walk right through
like a dreamer
it's only pain leaving -
only listen to your forest sounds,
your special friends trust
that your bird-tongue
speaks your truth.

This poem came through several incarnations – I knew I wanted to write about a transformative process and that it had to be in nature.

I also wanted a mythological feel and was thinking of Persephone – but it didn’t really come to life until I put my own self into it. I also wanted it to be a kind of help, a teaching, that it is OK to go into the darkness when you have to. Resisting is not going to get you through to the other side. And the other side is more of a self not tossed around by the needs and wishes of others, but a self who can know pain, be OK that it hurts but also know you can be as light as a bird once you know that you are really free in your soul. Sounds a tall order! But I find the more I am in nature, the more I am helped to see the way through difficulty – not by avoiding but by being part of our world in all its pain and glory.

It's really just about becoming oneself, I suppose – sounds easy! But for many of us it is far from easy. It’s worth the walk in the woods though – there is so much to learn. Autumn's my favourite time of year, September, colouring up and ripening and the air moving. It’s been a hard summer, grief coming unexpectedly in the middle of holidays. So I welcome Autumn even more than usual. The house martins have flown off leaving a strange quiet round the house. Harvests are in and the fields and hills losing their August gold as we all start to think about preparing for winter in a slightly leaky house. It’s gathering time and a good healing to collect wood, light fires, share some cosiness with our loved ones.

And out with the notebook and wait to see what comes along. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my poem and thoughts on WildWords and, as Winter moves in, I hope you've all had a fruitful Autumn.