A Lesson from the Woods

a night poem,  by Sha’Tara

The woods were empty
as only woods can be
in deep winter – surely
everyone knows of the shadows
lurking in the deep snows.

(There came a sigh
as from tired lips gone white,
a sound of night wind or ghost
and the whisper of owl wings)

The woods were dark
as only woods can be
in any season of any year
for when night comes without its moon
it makes no exceptions.

(There came another sigh
then a voice from cold lips)

Your feeble lantern’s light
is more useful for casting shadows
than discovering the path you seek.

You’re but a child, child
oh, never mind protesting
with ‘I’m of age’ platitudes
no one ever is here
in the deep woods
that are neither empty nor dark.

This is my domain, see?
I decide emptiness,
I decide darkness
for these are of souls,
not of things that grow
nor things that see or hear.

There is a hawk, do you see
up there so high, so proud
on top of my highest tree​?
She’s a peregrine that one,
fast and deadly on the wing.
Does she know sitting there
that even the fastest
and the deadliest
cannot fly faster than death?
Nor can they capture it,
nor can they kill it?

Death, child
is the final arbiter
for all that is born to exist.
Death then you see
is the most powerful force
that rules throughout this universe
and it is my woods
that keep its soul.

18 thoughts on “A Lesson from the Woods

  1. kertsen

    Death has no power over the dead , they are beyond its reach and quite safe in unconscious existence. Deaths greatest influence is felt by the self-conscious because they know they are alive and have reflective understanding. The discerning conscience has no fear of oblivion and it is often summed up in those three letters R.I.P.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment Kertsen. The thing about poems is that they are poems. They walk naked in public and feel no shame.


      1. kertsen

        Sorry but you lossed a down earth man like me, but then I’m not a widely read lover of poetry. I only know two and a bit poems of Robert Frost and those are two most famous ones : ‘ The woods are lovely dark and deep ‘ and ‘The road not taken’. The shocking fragment of another sticks in my mind ‘ I long for weight and strength to feel the ground as hard to all my length ‘ He had a tough life losing two children and that may have resulted in a suicide wish. Thinking about it perhaps the woods are lovely dark and deep is a metaphor for hiding from life.


      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks for your comment, Kertsen. Quote: “Thinking about it perhaps the woods are lovely dark and deep is a metaphor for hiding from life.” You are probably right on the money with that interpretation.
        What I meant in my response to you is that a poem is a thought-form written to be used more than to explain anything. Its nature is to remain ever open to interpretation and none is ever wrong. A poem is the prostitute of writing. She’ll give you what she is, you make of it what you will.


      3. kertsen

        Well ‘ forever open ‘ smells to me of modern art and modern classical music we are creatures who search for meaning and explanation, but it is true that words can paint a picture rather like the piano music of Debussy; however a melody remains in the mind after the sound has ceased. My own definition would be : a poem says the most with the minimum words.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Phil. That statement has given rise, continues to give rise, to much debate. I must let the poem speak for itself.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you. To tell the truth, I have no idea where such a thought came from but I had to write it. I was watching “Jane Eyre” last night as I wrote it, so obviously something transpired between the protagonists and myself.


  2. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Vivid images Sha’ Tara, gripping and shiver inducing. Would work very well with music accompanying.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Roger. Aha! You picked up on the music! I heard it while I re-read but I can’t write music to save my life, so if someone else wants to, they can have the words… for free! Seriously, but I have some small changes need to be made, so if someone DID want it for a song, literally(!) they should contact me first so we can fluff it up!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Woebegone but Hopeful

        Worth spreading it out onto Social Media. See if there is anyone out there.


      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Social media? Did you say social media? Oh… my! Yes, I’ve heard of that. Isn’t it also called vernacular fake news? Sorry Roger but I’m in a mood. I don’t do social media, too “social” for my taste. I tried that facebook thing a couple of times and I was inundated, buried, swamped, crushed. I must’ve accidentally left the back door open and it was a stampede. So I chased all the animals out and boarded up the barn. Haven’t been back to see how the mice, moths and swallows are doing in the dried up floors, the cob-webbed windows and the cracking sunny loft. I think I’ll just leave them alone, I will.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Woebegone but Hopeful

        I’m afraid I am a scoundrel and look for trouble these days.
        It is only because my surname is relatively rare and don’t want my family to have their own projects messed up that I’m not upsetting people of all sorts on FB, just for the hell of it. These things can feed back.
        One day I’ll go black-ops though….


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