Will-o'-the-Wisp

On sin-strewn soil she scampers,

a flitting firefly upon the long night.

Through frosted-brittle bracken and frigid grasses green

her warmth carves channels of intrigue,

as she dances to songs of the deep midnight.

Dressed in lustre she tells a tale of two flames, two lives:

from the flowing folds of childhood’s now radiant robes, to

newfound nature’s crown, ever-burning amber;

she walks in shades of

lives past and new, both one and the same.

Her ancient eyes still beam young blue as she ever-searches her

stalking-grounds for fresh foliage to plunder, and chill-touched winds

caress her maiden’s locks where a parent’s hand can no longer.

Come nightfall’s descent and nocturne’s hush she emerges,

the darting beacon of the woods, unknown, and unaware

of the peril she sews to the space.


Between towering walls of black night air she glows like

The North Star, a guiding hand to nothing but deeper

darkness. What weary traveller spies her or local

drunk gives chase is bound ceaselessly into the

frozen bonds of a night unsheltered and alone and afraid,

like she once was when her earthly bonds

fell unfettered.

She offers no respite to those who seek it, she knows not

that any do, for her embered bonnet binds her in

a world of her own, oblivious:

free from life,

free from death,

free from care.


She treads the path of avarice unending,

an accursed path she may never know more than.

She plucks without disdain: all nature’s bounty abundant;

with greedy armfuls aplenty of lady’s bedstraw, bilberries and bitter vetch

to one day dye her pale dress.

Yet as her soft-smouldering palms grasp such tender stems

her prizes wilt and wane to white ashes, and flee

upon winds she will never feel again.

So was her unwitting sin in life, so on she sustains

beyond it, Sisyphean.

Dire innocence manifest: she walks in the form of the wisp.

Fault outreaching her fair mind’s flounderings

fated her to a perilous in-between, to roam

from pasture to pasture and through dark boughs infinite,

nevermore to return home.

A child of a world forgotten,

I pray she remains unperturbed and unreached,

lest she take off her crown and stare terrified

at the savage cycle she wades in.




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