Vision without action is a daydream Action without vision is a nightmare - Japanese proverb Cobwebs fall from my eyes Brushed there by the trees As I emerge from the river, Shivering in the breeze. Into ancient forest Sinking into peat, Leaves dance down Mulching at my feet, Lazy light swells and pulses Making me yearn for rest, My swollen eyelids Tick with tiredness, I seek a second magpie Where murderous corvids roost, I count seven as they Startled, suddenly swoop.
Beech nuts snap their furry jaws Blood berries float in tangled limbs, In this terraced valley Where river slices thin. Then in a glade I see him White stag - statue-bold, With graceful twist of neck, Pink eyes locked in hold. Framed briefly in papery birch, Then startles and I chase As if in medieval hunt In breathless pursuit we race Until under solitary ash tree Beneath the boughs he stops, Burnt branches on the right - The left, black buds stripped off.
My chest beats, rise and fall, Condensed clouds evaporate and billow into fuller mist, Where whispering woods aspirate. I sooth the charred bark, And reach through the haze To grasp the final fruit Before the end of days.
Rotten, it dissolves in my hand, Turning to dust as if from sand Drifting down to iron earth Kissing fairy rings below, Where mycelium seeks truth Though carrion circles grow.
I cannot go any farther As if hidden rubicon, I turn to ask directions but my gentle stag has gone. So I return to clear water, Thirsting for purer mind. How I long for lucid vision. But I am blind. Suzanne Fairless-Aitken - December 2019