The Rot at the Heart of the Forest

ophelia trashThere’s a very short list of Pagan writers whom I admire.  Many with great skill craft pieces which evoke beautiful emotions only to end in sputtering ambiguity, as if all their arts become bound in a refusal to lead the reader to a conclusion for fear of waning popularity.  It’s a waiting trap, I suspect, for anyone who suddenly finds more people reading their words–might a few be offended if some statement is made, some conclusion reached?

The end result of that path is beautiful words, “signifying nothing.”

One should be warned that writers wield the most insidious power.  A poet plays with your heart as you read her words, and though the experience is often ecstatic, the result is not always kind.  Like the fae, some will drown you in their carelessness or mere curiousity, wave after soothing wave lapping over your soul until you are whelmed over, underwater, breathless in the futility of all human action.

The better amongst them incite you, showing you mysteries and sorrows along their paths of words before leading you back to the gates of the forest, whispering, “now do something.”  You’ve seen what they’ve seen, the creeping plague rotting the hearts of ancient trees still strung with fairy lanterns, the animate shadows choking out the lives of fragile flowers, sacred wells bittered with sorcerous poisons, monstrous roar of metal and glint of axe-heads amongst the voracious armies of foresters cutting swathes of destruction through the lamenting land.

There are too many examples of the first sort of writer, and not enough of the second.  Fortunately, one Alley Valkyrie is worth dozens of cloying writers embattled in ambiguity, afraid to show you the rotting roots of the beauty they see.

Read her most recent piece at The Wild Hunt: Dispatches from River Mile 11


2 thoughts on “The Rot at the Heart of the Forest

  1. I was imprisoned for a crime I did not commit and the need to want to paint Ophelia drowning in a swamp full of trash I’m going to do a collage instead of a painting this one has been done but within my dark 5 months on remand when it came to trial I got surprise there .the Brighton police are similar to American cops gung ho .

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