Wren left a polished stone within the oaken bower;
it was thus you came to know your bones.
Feathers were tied to blackthorn branches;
your coat was made from these.
Badger scribed solstitial sonnets on dark ash leaves;
on these your name was spelled.
A hedge witch boiled berries;
brought your blood up from the sod and soil.
Apples gave you flesh and scent
yet now they mold and rot and grow again
from hidden seeds;
thus your nature works its way.
There are mushrooms for a brain,
Owl talons, vervain, mandrake,
and something else, unnamed,
that sets the shallow winter sap upon its face
and grants the Greenman motion
and binds him to the forest waste.
About the Author: Dr. Ari Berk is a writer, visual artist, folklorist/mythologist, screenwriter, and film consultant. His publications have included works on myth and ancient cultures, as well as popular books for both children and adults. Ari’s most recent titles are Death Watch, Mistle Child and Lych Way (The Undertaken Trilogy) which the School Library Journal called "reminiscent of the classic gothic works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Shirley Jackson"; Nightsong (illustrated by Loren Long); The Secret History of Giants (winner of a NCTE Notable Award), The Secret History of Mermaids, and The Secret History of Hobgoblins. Ari holds degrees in Ancient History and American Indian Studies, as well as a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Culture. He has studied at Oxford University in England and, at the University of Arizona, was mentored by Pulitzer Prize-winning Kiowa author N. Scott Momaday. He currently sits on the advisory board of the Mythic Imagination Institute (Atlanta, Georgia). Ari and his wife, Renaissance scholar Dr. Kristen McDermott, currently live at the edge of a wood in the heart of Michigan. They are both professors in the English department at Central Michigan University. Visit him on the web at: www.AriBerk.com
Copyright © 2000 by Ari Berk. The poem not be reproduced in any form without the author’s express written permission.