Poetry Friday: Hazel, Hawthorn, Oak, and Ash

This month’s Inkling challenge came from Linda. She suggested that we “find or write a poem in any form of any length for Folktale Week November 14-20, 2022.” Linda shared this explanation of Folktale Week, which is primarily for visual artists, from their Facebook page: “Folktale Week prompts artists to respond to folktales and share their work on instagram #folktaleweek! Use #folktaleweek2022. Prompts will be released by the hosts on October 17th. You will have over a month to search for your favorite folktales, discover new ones, work on your own amazing art, or even write your own tales! Be sure to follow #folktaleweek2022 to find others who are joining!”

I loved this idea immediately. This year’s prompts are fool, tree, star, rebel, costume, potion, and victory. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you won’t be at all surprised to learn that I chose tree as my starting point. This lead me down several rabbit holes and false starts. Maple trees dominated my childhood yard, but my memories didn’t have a folktale feel to them. I turned to my Celtic heritage and came up with this very rough draft.

Hazel, Hawthorn, Oak, and Ash

In the before times,
when the world still fed on dreams,
forests filled with
hazel, hawthorn,
oak and ash
spread across the land,
sharing their gifts with all.

But dark clouds of greed
descended on the forest.

The timeless rhythms of 
hazel, hawthorn,
oak and ash
were drowned out by the the
thwack, thwack, thwack,
of the axe.

The forest thinned
and wept.
And the world forgot
how to dream.

The forest remembers
those ancient dreams.
They whisper to us
on the wind
of hazel, hawthorn,
oak and ash.

Be still.
They’re waiting for you.

Draft, © Catherine Flynn, 2022

Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

Please be sure to visit my fellow Inklings to read their responses to this challenge:

Heidi Mordhorst @ My Juicy Little Universe (Heidi is also hosting Poetry Friday this week. Thank you, Heidi!)
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche
Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone