The Forest Inside – A Poem

The trees have returned.smaller

I can see them out of

the corner of my eyes,

their leaves waving

like fingers trying

to beckon me closer

so that they can wrap me

in a dark embrace.

I can feel my body

answering their shrill call,

a heaviness in my chest

that is filled with nothing but shadows.

I breathe deeply, trying

to find my centre,

trying to brush past

the well inside of

me that is filled with malaise

instead of the water and ink

that brings words.

There is no reason for the

dark forest to return,

but it is always there,

underneath my skin,

waiting to burst

forth from inside me.

A woman is walking towards me.

I almost don’t see her through

the thick branches.

She puts a hand on my arm and says:

“Where are you going in such a hurry?”

I look at her and decide

that she’s genuine.

“I’m trying to get away. The trees are too strong.”

She gives me a kind smile.

“You carry a forest inside of you, don’t you?”

I nod grimly.

“You know, if you don’t let the bad stuff out, it’ll push itself out in the most bizarre ways.”

I thank her and move on.

The trees have grown thick around me,

the rustle of the branches,

the call of the wind

and its lullaby whisper

is almost too strong.

Something is struggling

to break free of my body.

I can feel it in my throat,

and I try to keep it down,

attempt to keep the shadows

inside of me. I’m kneeling

on the ground. I hear footsteps.

I look up to see the woman

that stopped me before.

“You have to let the bad stuff out. You can’t keep it inside. Go on now, let it out.”

I nod, tears in my eyes,

streaming down my cheeks.

I open my mouth wide

and a piece of shadow slips out of me,

resembling nothing but sludge.

Then, as we watch,

it begins to shape itself

into the shape of a Crow.

Its eyes regard me with

curiosity, unsure of me.

Its feathers shine like

obsidian and it ruffles its feathers.

“It’s beautiful.”

I whisper.

“Yes,” She says. “The darkness can be beautiful. But we mustn’t let it consume us.”

“So what do I do? How do I walk away from the forest?”

I realise that she is kneeling beside me,

as she is so close. There is a warmth

coming from her that fills my body.

“You have light inside of you. Use that to banish the dark. What else can the Crow be?”

I shake my head, unsure of what to say.

“You are a writer, are you not? Why not make some ink? Fill the well inside of you with ink instead of shadows.”

I blink at her and then nod.

I look at the Crow,

feel the pulse of its darkness

inside of me. I blink my eyes,

thinking of a pen, of something that

can hold ink and stories inside of it.

Wishing for something

to keep the shadows at bay,

to combat the lullaby of darkness.

When I open my eyes,

the Crow is gone. In its place

is a pen of black obsidian

and a black journal

waiting to be written in.

I look up to thank the woman

but there is no one there.

I stand as if I have just won

a battle, taking hold of the pen and journal

and I feel them pulse,

full of the stories

waiting to be written.

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