Iam not a tigress; my glow is in greens
and caught reflections in translucent forest glades
where there are meadow lakes I swim
and when my wanderings open upon dry green groves
I spend a fortnight there making a well
digging deep enough until the earth's tears rise and rush

this is how the wearied traveller knows me
by the river stones marking a well's still earth wound
by a shimmer hazing over tree-bordered lakes
that some think is only a trick of light and time
when it is really the eye's glimpsing of half-truths

and days long past when I was a deer beneath the spread sky canopy
learning all the lays of my own land and the talk of deeprooted trees
nudging below the earthen crown of last season's fallen children
filled with the deep scent of cider and moss I would search
for the gentlest touch of the softest roots and the greenest grass

and knowing infinitely intimately the wind song in the trees
I could tell you all the shades of green and the whispering sound
of a young fern as it first unfurls towards the dusting filtered light

what devotees I've claimed have come unbidden
intent with the old crone and campfire tales in their ears
mortality at its most willing in exchange for the possibility
of returning as victor with bow slung back and green heart in hand
I have let them all pass my outermost borders and wander
always in sight of open land and its homely call
and one by one they give up their quested hopes
return to their wives and children stronger for trying

only two have I ever tried to keep in the light of my shadows
two who would not turn back
who scorned the plains and rolling grasslands
who sought my heart for themselves and not for holding on high
two I allowed to see me and afterwards, leave me

at the cold emerald overgrown foot of mountains I live
swathed in the season of ever-spring and the garments
of supple verdant leaf and thronging crystal brook
cloaked in the richness of chestnut and birch
reflecting the golden glimpses of an afternoon sun
grazing forest ground in licks and slips of light

alone in the cloaked solitude of rooted forest fears
watcher left to live too greenly beside the fires
as mortal years lay to waste love and life alike