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?
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
Call of Herne
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
The Hunter calls you
Your future to take!
To the wild, the thrall
Join the riders
And the squall
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
In your gaze I see:
Your fate is set
You belong with me.
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…
Are one of us…
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
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.
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…