By Aarron Mondello
Grey clouds racing through the night sky
Over darker lands below
Where death stalks every quivering creature
And only twisted things grow
In the centre of this dead land
Lies a Forrest dark and brooding
With a small clearing at its heart
Where stands a willow tall and drooping
A patch of green here and there
Still shone amongst her branches
Though mostly Mother willow had succumbed
To poisonous sickly advances
At the base of her gnarly roots
Sat an elderly elven fellow
More bones and skin no meat on him
His face gone gaunt and sallow
Every day from dawn till dusk
He laboured with his hands
At his feet sat crystal vials
A dozen all on stands
He drilled the trunk of Mother Willow
And drained her healthy sap
Twisting the drill to bore a hole
Then knocking in a tap
There was not much healthy sap
Left to drain out of she
For nearly dead, on her last legs
Was this mammoth willow tree
But old man elf remembered
A time before the dark
When Mother Willow sang to the moon
As the children climbed her bark
So now he sat and cried
Silently as he drilled her trunk
The dead lands all about them
Echoed with his mallets thunk
Sweating and tired and nearly done
He stopped to take a breath
Old Mother Willow whispered her thanks
Then finally gave in to death
Her last green leaves withered up
Right before his eyes
Her brown bark turned to ashen grey
As he howled sorrow at the skies
She was the last, he is the last
This garden of eden no more
He packed his vials of her precious sap
And left for brighter shores
None can say how his road travelled
As he searched horizons far
But you can see the vials of Mother Willows
Sap as all the stars
And still the grey clouds race
Over that land twisted and dead
Where in every valley or mountain range
Stalk countless eyes of dread.
4 thoughts on “Old Mothers End”
… I’m still trying to get my thoughts straight after reading it. That one really pulled me in at an emotional level, so the words were less about explaining clearly what was going on because it’s quite mysterious and elusive to interpret fully, but that’s why it’s so good … my eyes were reading the words, but I was *feeling* it rather than reading it, if that makes sense. So sad and so beautiful.
Thank you for reading and letting me know what you think.
What you have written is what I was going for, actually. So that makes me double happy.
I wanted it to feel a little empty and a little lonely, because that’s what’s the elf and Old Mother Willow would have been feeling. And everything else at that point would not have mattered, so it’s not included.
Although I do think I’ll come back to this one soon and expand the picture a bit.
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I’m so deeply flattered that you mentioned what I have written as being in any way connected to your exquisite poem … that’s such an honor. I think the parts you included and the parts you left out were exactly the right balance, which is what makes your poem so perfectly enigmatic and yet still so soul-touching. There are so many questions in the conscious mind trying to fit the pieces together and “make sense”; but sometimes we need to get out of our head, and the intensity of emotion while reading it makes all those thoughts stop, so there is nothing left but pure feeling. If I had enough followers to do it justice, I would re-blog it, but fingers crossed, I’ll be able to do that soon. I love re-blogging beautiful posts from fellow bloggers and seeing readers go through to their blogs to discover something new. Thank you for writing this poem; it will definitely stay with me.
It truly is a great experience to find that, after 20 or more years of hiding what I write, here are people that actually appreciate it and can connect with it.
Thank you for your support, truly and sincerely.
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