I run from the forest.
Out of the darkness I hear its many limbs
strain as they rain foliage on my soul.
A shadow darkens my moonlit path
a crow races towards me, its wings
beat out the rhythm of my heart.
The subtle swish of feathers mocks
my rasped gulps of air.
Suddenly my path ends
there is no where to go
where my toes hover above darkness.
I look over my shoulder.
Stillness reigns as breath
refuses to escape burning lungs.
I watch the crow pull the forest
with black curled claws
draw it over me like a shroud.
I turn, look down into blackness,
into the void that surrounds.
Heart pulsing sounds of fear
race to my throat as screams
that never leave the confines
of my crucified mind.
Feathers whisper in my ears
as a Cimmerian shade
Shadow fills my sight and for a moment
I face the dark shade
wish only for death
until a song pours through my heart.
Carried in blood it courses
through throbbing veins
chants with ancestral voices
entices me to dance
take a step back.
My foot slides over pebbles
finds little resistance
as I take the lead
hover over emptiness
fall back into nothing.
Arms flail against unfound air
as wings beating against the night
black wings crashing against nothingness
until falling is flying is soaring.
Midnight feathers fanned
I ride the chasm
pierce the night with a blackness
of my own. Glide out of the void
and into refreshing light.
I feel moon rays wash my soul
of eternal emptiness
as they guide me back to the forest
glazed with moon reflected sunlight.
A life that cast only shadows
now soars on the breath of trees.
I glide into the arms of the wild wood
navigate unknown territory within,
begin to see now
as if a milky film had been peeled away
leaving only shiny dark points of light.
Soon I rise up out of the depths
fly to the top of the tallest sentry
spread my wings to open my heart
to the sky, the moon, the stars.
My eye captures another circling
barely visible in the blackest hour.
Surprised to hear my own voice
vibrate the drums of my ears
I blink, take another look
stretch my wings and leap
nearly collide with an image
so like my own
that I cannot be sure
another soars before me.
Its eyes a mirror in which I see
two other shiny spheres
We sail through the cool predawn air
rise and fall to the beat of our hearts.
Perform against the twilight
a dance rehearsed in lives past
while our eyes echo the fading
© 2000 Joanne Elliott
This piece I wrote after my life was touched by a crow. One day, while out walking, a crow brushed my hair with its wing and not long after my whole life changed.