Collected Poems of the Wylde Hunt

Below are a number of poems I wrote, mostly on my older blog, about the Wylde Hunt. I thought I’d share them all here!

The Hunter’s Horn

Can you hear the Hunter’s Horn,

Sounding in the forest deep?

Can you hear the pounding of hooves

When night creeps in and people sleep?

In the dark night can you feel

That rush of wind- that fleeting chill?

Standing in the night-time wood

What will be his latest kill?

wild-hunt

Image found here.

The Hunters’ Chase

Tripping o’er the roots and stones,

Slipping in the mud and scattered leaves I run-

The horde thundering after me.

Heart pounding in rhythm with their drums

I carry on through darkened forests deep

Horns and bays of hounds

Tear through the trees after me.

Silver slivers the moonlight glimmers down

Through barren branches

Lighting there upon the path

Leading me deeper.

Drum beats faster

The flight continues.

Will I live or will I die?

Hunter’s horn is sounding closer

Behind, I hear their haunting cry,

But won’t look back now o’er my shoulder

Won’t turn around; I cannot stop

The pounding rumbles; it’s all I hear

They plan to chase until I drop.

Thrilling ever is the chase

That leads I know not where.

But were I to lose this frenzied race

What things would

Meet me

There?

the_wyld_hunt_25773

Image found here.

Call of Herne

Hazy-eyed dreamer

You long to be

In the tangled wood

Amongst the trees

To feel the pulse

The forest’s charm

That pounding, that burning

The hunters’ drums

Starry-eyed poet

Arise! Awake!

The Hunter calls you

Your future to take!

Lose yourself

To the wild, the thrall

Join the riders

And the squall

Curious wanderer

You’ve come too far

Can you still see

Those distant stars?

Forget the path

The way you came

Join us now

Where there is no shame

Hazy-eyed dreamer

In your gaze I see:

Your fate is set

You belong with me.

aasgaardreien_peter_nicolai_arbo_mindre

Asgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Whispers of the Autumn Court

You’ve heard us your whole life

That raspy whispering from the trees that beckons and tells you

You’re one of us…

You were afraid once

The unknown darkness overwhelmed you

Above all sense of truth you found in our words.

So we waited

Our eyes boring holes in your soul

Holes that would open into gaping wounds as you struggled

Desperately to find answers to your own darkness that came

Flowing out in roaring waves, crashing and cascading

Until you could see now in dazzling horror

The darkness that dwelt within.

The path gone before you, you stumbled into our realms.

Ours was the world of dankness and seeping chill

Of rot and decay beneath the vibrant greens

Of flash-fire autumns that gave way quickly to winter’s barren bones.

Your fingers clawed in the earth

The hoof beats of hunters drew near- a sense of foreboding you had not yet learned to hear.

You’re one of us, we told you…

Renewed strength- or was it adrenaline?- you ran

Thorny branches tearing limbs and cloth,

Thick roots tripping, ripping foot and calf and shin

The horns bellowed, the hunter rode fast

And you clung to the gleaming lights that sometimes came down from the trees

Baying hounds harried you, close to brink of exhaustion

We called out: Do not fear! Do not run!

For you are just as we are.

Escalating into a clamorous cacophony the chase of hound and hunter grew closer, closer…

Until you found yourself in the hunter’s arms

Pressed against his chest as darkness drew in around you

And in his embrace you saw us clearly

Glowing eyes blinking under tree and fern

We are darkness and dampness

We are nibblers at bone and gnawers of flesh

We are decay and rot, flash-fire brightness and brittle shells

We are hunters and slinkers in dank forest shadows

Rooted deep in the mysteries of death and decay

And the last breaths of life

Fascinating and undeniably terrible…

And you

Are one of us…

wild_hunt_by_velamir-d6xgtm9

Image found here.

Return of the Wylde Ones

Stained in shades of bloody red and orange rust

The leaves drift down silently

Beneath the squall of crows-

Hidden in the occasional thud! of fallen acorns-

Something is awakening.

The air is scented with death,

The smell of rotting leaves, moist in the dark soil.

The breeze brings chill,

Moans through branches growing ever more barren

The insects have turned into their silent places-

No cicadas or crickets to be heard anymore.

As I stand in the wooded grove,

The quiet of the forest

And shimmering last rays of golden sun

Wrap me in their embrace.

Peace can be found here, but something lingers

A bitter taste on the air of something yet to appear.

The wind dies, the silence occasionally punctuated by another

Thud! Snap!

More nuts and twigs falling to the forest floor…

The darkness settles, and I sense what had slumbered there begin to awake.

Glimmering, coal-black eyes peering from roots and mushrooms

A teeming of life that had been hidden

In the radiance of the daylight’s fading gold.

These were the wild ones.

The creatures of folktale and legend,

Those our mothers would warn us of.

They watch me with a curiosity,

Resting there in the dark amongst the trees.

But something else is coming

Another force approaches…

At first they are dull, hardly distinguishable from the pattering of acorns

But then, it registers on the edges of my awareness:

Hoof beats coming from the deeper trees

The Hunt has come to ride again.

2

Image found here.

Riding With the Hunt
The leaves above me rustle and whisper, glints of golden sunlight filtering through an opulent canopy of orange and gold. Now and then, a creature scurries by in the undergrowth and fallen leaves. Though the sun is setting quickly, there is a certain sense of peace in the quiet of the woods. The winding ravine paths lead me to the edge of a jagged cliff, looking down into the tumbling depths where a river once flowed. A gust of wind catches my jacket and scarf, laughing, almost threatening to send me over the edge on which I stand. That’s when I catch it: the subtle drone on the breeze, as if a horn was being blown off in some distant part of the wood.

Stillness follows. Branches creak, almost from the burden of motionlessness- as if the very act of remaining still for too long will cause their limbs to weaken and break. Acorns fall with quiet thuds as the muteness creeps in. A lone whisper of a breeze blows past my ear: “You are one of us… Come and ride amongst our ranks…” With a smile, I nod, closing my eyes and allowing myself to be carried away.

In the arms of hunters, I soar over the crimson wood. Further up, I can see the Grand River as it cuts through the forested landscape, carving its way towards the city and beyond. My stomach turns in the way it might on a rollercoaster. We tumble through autumn breeze and storm cloud, laughing in the madness of it all. First a burst of icy fog, then a swirl of leaves caught from a tree nearby, leaping into darkened damp masses of cloud that rumble at our touch. Then, as suddenly as it began, I am plunging downward again, careening towards the forest and the ravines from which I had risen. We fall down, down through branches both barren and gilded, down past barky trunk and forest creature and into the depths of soily crag and dampened slope.

My consciousness returns to my physical form with a gasp. Eyes wide, I see that darkness has fallen around me. The ghostly whispering breeze blows gently past. In its wake, leaves scuttle ‘round my feet, muttering a raspy farewell. For now, I must leave the realm of root and rot, of moss and bark, for the land of brick and steel. I know, however, that this place will be awaiting my return…

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A Whispered Return

You know me by the redd’ning leaves-
That touch of ice in the dawn.
Your every inch of being stills
In that brisk moment of my gaze- then… gone.
Ragged breath from ragged creature drawn-
Sharp.
In the knowing that my time is nearing,
And is that lustful anticipation or fearing that
Comes with the end of Cicada’s song?
You know that when the sunlight weans
I will ride in windy throng.
And each falling acorn in that clearing
Staccato.
Startling.
…Calm,
Draws you, begs you, calls you on-
To rest there on silken, fallen leaves.
Lie your head upon the moss-
For I am the truth the forest breathes,
He who in those shadows sees,
The whispered name amongst the trees,
The tingling in your spine that knows:
The Hunter comes again to call.

A Poem of the Incoming Storm

Ripping across the white-capped waves,
The wind catches my breath-
My hair, my arms outstretched-
The ephemeral feathers ruffl’d there…
A song rises in my gut:
Burbles, churns like a riptide-
Rumbles. Like thunder…
Builds with each crashing of water on shoreline
Until it is humming behind my lips-
Quieted by the buffeting gusts of
Seaweed scented air…
Air that’s flecked with beach sand,
Broiling and tense with the tempest to come.
For a moment, my soul is caught up in it-
It soars in the cool blasts,
And I am giddy with the exhilaration it brings.
But with that first, brilliant flash of light-
The blazing purple hue that cuts the deepened grey-
I am brought back down to my rooted feet.
The storm is coming,
And now, we must go…

This poem was inspired by some adventuring with a good friend of mine tonight near the Saginaw Bay in Bay City, Michigan.