We walked together to the great barn.
You showed me beams you were building
with your bare hands.
Hands that knew how to channel the sap
from fresh wood, as sweet and sticky
as dark forest in the rain.
Next door, the old dovecote lay empty,
waiting for a new flock
to descend and roost.
Their soft cooing would bring peace
back to this damaged land.
This was a royal estate with
sprawling wings, at least as large
as Blenheim Palace.
I danced down long corridors
to lie hidden in anti-chambers,
waiting for your touch to come by candlelight,
whilst the household slept.
The smell of damp trees in your hair,
shavings stuck to my dress,
small needles of pine pressed
against my back.
The foliage grew from the inside,
out through your mouth
Your arms became twisted vines
around my waist and thighs,
pulling me closer into your hollow trunk.
My red dress combusted as our
woodfire took hold,
deep in the roots of our tree.
No one knew we were here
in this dreamtime chamber,
except our animal selves
who guarded the door against
We parted at dawn,
brushing twigs from our hair
and sawdust from our cheeks.
Making way for a full, elastic day
in the straw eaves of the barn,
to share green-fingered secrets
whilst our forest fires burn.
SCM July 2019