The Wolves and The Woodcutter

Catherine Faulkner

He found her in the wood, he said
Among the seep of blood that was shed
On prisms of snow 
Dark as velvet
Cold as loss.
That was what he said, but she does not
Remember blood, then
That was before
Before the wolves came greedy to her
In their grey stealth and howl.
She knew the pattern and rhythm of wolves,
She knew the delicate dance shift,
The quiet understanding.
But he, he with his axe that was a new moon
In their sky
Did not abide by those ancient rules.
His teeth glistened wilder in the moon grin
And the wolves laid the noses to ground.


Shh, shh and away they go
With the softness of fresh, warm fur
Pressing promises into her skin.
The house is empty
Cold and dark
And when he lights a fire and tells her
To sit, sit
She notices, then, the growl of his voice
The soot of it smoking the air black,
She notices the catch of something
And when he stands
The animal stench of him rises too,
The yellow eyes 
Countenancing the surprise in hers
And she, now taut and
Wrapped in fur is rapturous
As she watches him sniff
The red hem of her dress
And she smiles
And knows
The beast that will devour her with devotion
Is but a wolf that bleats for other clothes.

Catherine Faulkner is a Highlands-based writer, endlessly inspired by the landscape around her and the interweaving of Scottish myth and legend.