wood-voice, I must pass on for nothing here knows me but the fog along the ridge of pines the crow’s song - a tunnel I pass through sweet other wilderness, you have formed in me a marriage bond of blue-depth waters dreaming, the wolf is illuminated her hoofprints like arrows through fields of fern and mortal dusk destroyed by the impossible, I live the impossible walk with me through the leafless arms of twisting hawthorn the blood of a birth saying, let no one make a fool of my heart and keep what is yours mask of the animal I am sharp as the black, wounded hearts of brush and black thistle forgiving my old life, those past tongues and lands I walked and wasted my words demand the silence of this moorland where crossroads vanish into moon’s silver brume and lapping edges a thousand tender leaves swaying night’s likeness no name, no body, my becoming speaks through the pursuance of nowhere forget the voice of distance, those that would take your spirit for ransom the irremediable, the unredeemed hums that which you must leave as we go through the ruin becoming sublime
wood-eye weep in the deep shadows of your longing others will hum in the soft patter of your broom trodden by the tenderhooves of wind’s armored riders the sweet sea of silver miles enslaved by an ancient tenderness to stay remain, endure beside you, I keep a despairing vigil, no longer finding refuge in my thoughts that old labor, lost to the furrows of a dying field all that you see, all that can be taken away, is unspeakable a mask over the animal I am, nightbirds stretch and blacken the horizon timeless doors of earth, where will you lead me? failure remakes a creature, I am not yet born the story bleeds beneath the dying weight of my master the hunter tracks his prey through you, your heart grows darker for the dying things, the wasted and forgotten black stagnant pool of blue-dark depths, all is heavy with the spirit of illness everything I am waits for you, and still you do not come love, the color of oblivion lost to the waters of other wood-eye weep, sing of distances, the living notes of painted birds forgive me, I let you go mouth of the river sings back to the sea the world is [not] alone
moon, tyrant of the sea, may the tides be her bedding the witch-tongue her means to speak & the umber-furl of pine’s spectral mist her hair to tangle unfathomable nightbirds shed their tears of the Estranged where voids ache in the empty air come to me, the lilies spill from the mouth of mourning infinitely into every distance I am changed buried in the dark movements of beloved the unwritten laws of water shadow-bringing master, I took, and was taken, I had to touch, and hold, all that was not mine a hunger that did not belong to me Selene, I see your pale restlessness in a sky of thieves you are like me, gone, unsung, forgotten made to wander over the sea where the fine-boned wind breathes hold me to my name, the kingdom of wheat and the shore I belong to press the old-woods to your lips and draw meals, bleeding silver sideways into marshland, the dark human waters of mother already, I am part of you
at the gates of the otherworld, I came as human I begged to descend the eyes of mine, shadow-bringing, too many dead and buried drifting the empty miles of death’s river night, I say, I have come to meet you here by her sea-grave I have with me, time I have hoarded and bundled like wheat the woes of a raven above black waters & sweet other wilderness the red taste of betrayal twilight washes over the mire and tires there, in the witch-shade of your hand let me in once, I was wild with hunger but the brume rose and I thought, I cannot stay here and waste my heart being all that you do not want nor need there is a nobility in solitude, in staying, or leaving, and suffering fate of the irremediable, shuffling and lifting and loving the sound of my wings forgive me of my old lives, tonight they walk out from me, coming out from the shadows away with their dark horses they are gone I descend small, infinite, far away full of time that will never return to where breaking & darkness are the only powers you know of this, deepest world, the infinity of deserted blue, blushing fruit, incomprehensible moon call me by my true, and animal name all I love in this world lives beyond us
coming up from the underworld I recovered a lost language, animal-tongue, the endless dance of water sailing through the notes of a lyre, illusion too much I had wanted, too much I gave up it felt anything but holy solace of night sky, the hardly moving face of time I am alone the night is errant, a wounded place the stars like the torches of horsemen riding in to every distance the yellow-eyed light of a darker fear why should I be forced to remember? creature, dressed, undressed earth tells her: return here is your sorrow the red curve of a seamless sea, open with the thousand eyes summer’s streams the deep privacy of a wood where spirit horses drink how sweet the night now seems, how silent stirring the lilies with a lingering white dream the infinite within me
Eleanor Gray is the co-founder and editor of Figroot Press, and has had poems published in Bird’s Thumb, Hypertrophic, Lit Cat, ArLiJo, Mangrove, Rose Red, Seen & Heard Journal, and Cosmographia.