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May 2011

May 2011 -- Dryads

Gallery

Columns

  • Artist Spotlight:
    Interview with Alexandra Knickel
  • EMG News:
    News for May
  • Behind the Art:
    Dryad in Watercolor

    Features

  • Dryads and Trees

    Fiction

  • Poem: Sylvia
  • Poem: Shelter Under a Tree
  • Poem: The Tree Spirits
  • Poem: Moonlight in the Wild Wood


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  • Sylvia
    by J. S. Watts

    (27th October 1932 - 11th February 1963)


    It is late afternoon.
    A woman is sitting in her orchard.
    She is waiting for a tree to change into a dryad
    But that obstinate tree refuses to shed its bark
    And despite the intensity of her anguish
    Declines to yield its hidden truth.

    The tree remains tree.
    No soft and yielding limb appears
    To encourage or seduce. No silky coronet of hair
    To catch the light she seeks internal to wood or nymph.
    She is trying to open the door between the crystal reality of imagination
    And the smothering greyness of the here and now.

    What she does not realise
    Is that the door is already open
    But no reds, greens, blues pour through to brighten.
    Instead, the slow oozing of greyness in which float things best not known.
    The door has already let through the dwindling ghost of dawn-time dreaming
    And the more substantial forms of our waking nightmares.

    At the woman's birth
    The three dismal muses of her life's poetry
    Passed through, bearing with them the taint of genius
    And the first, barely perceptible, mists of grey.
    They were her tutors and she their darling;
    They have taught her well, she will not disappoint them.

    They stand behind her now
    As she pleads with the tree to reveal itself.
    On her face there is no sign of the inward agony.
    It is as smooth and expressionless as the bald, featureless heads
    Of her three doting godmothers.
    They have made her their mirror.

    So absorbed is she
    She does not notice the blood and fire sunset
    Burning down to her left: a sunset to rival hell itself.
    Romantic sensibilities urge the need for a host
    From the other place, but no seraphim choir here,
    Just the crows gathering before the night.

    J. S. Watts was born in London and now lives and writes in East Anglia in the U.K. Her poetry, short stories and book reviews appear in a variety of publications in Britain, Canada and the States including Brittle Star, The Dawntreader, Envoi, Midwest Literary Magazine, Orbis, Polluto and Visionary Tongue and have been broadcast on BBC Radio. She is Poetry Reviews Editor for Open Wide Magazine and Poetry Editor for Ethereal Tales. Her debut poetry collection, Cats and Other Myths, is published by Lapwing Publications.
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