The scent of loam,
of fir and oak and rain.
Here, in this instant,
She breathes in;
the light of midday
falling through the trees
dapples Her shoulders
like an extra layer of freckles.
Hair bound back in a tight plait,
so as not to catch on
branches and briars when She runs.
oh, how She runs!
The deer She guards
are no more fleet or lithe than She;
the tunic woven of leaf and ivy
blends in to the forest around Her,
and the blur that She becomes
as She runs is all but invisible.
Her hair is the flame that does not burn;
Her eyes are stars falling, blue-white in darkness.
Her feet are bare against the wet mud
and broken boughs
that litter the forest floor.
Her steps are lighter than gossamer;
each foot leaves no impression
in mud or mire,
and all around Her, birds sing
to praise the lady of the woods.
Flitting through the treetops, from
branch to branch, toes barely kissing each limb
before leaping to the next;
each fleeting step so perfect a dance that
the winds become envious of her grace,
and the deer find themselves clumsy in her presence.
She shines, even when bending low;
head dipping before the pool,
kneeling to sip water as the deer sip.
Round her fair throat twines the sweetness of woodbine,
pale yellow blossoms in clusters,
curling heavily where nothing else about her is;
in the pellucid gloaming, dusk
paints purple and charcoal shadows on her eyes.
The deer do not start when she joins them,
do not flee;
She moves with them when dusk comes on,
and beds down among them when the bright sun
lifts its head above the far horizon.
She grieves when fawn or doe or stag
falls to the fangs of fox or wolf,
but does not hunt them in vengeance;
these things are part of the cycle,
and the balance must be maintained.
Here she will be, dwelling among them always,
racing through ash and alder, elm and apple,
tangled oak and beech weaving their limbs together,
these slender violins strung with ivy and wild grape,
in this greenwood that is her home.