Thursday, 23 July 2015

Wildwood Girls

Eagle’s wing and open sky
Stolen sisters spirits fly
Eagle’s wing and open sky
Stolen sisters spirits fly 

At the edge of a great forest, where diamond oak and tall pine fill the air with green leaf and sharp flowers, a Wildwood girl was dancing alone. Her feet stamped up a storm of silver in the early morning dew and her crow wing hair fell a waterfall down her back. She was of the forest’s wild - her ear knew the language of bird and pine; ancient, rock whispered stories inhabited her heart and guided the dance of her feet. But though her tongue sang the song of freedom, she was the last of her kind and her heart was shot with a deep, desperate loneliness. 

“Beautiful girl! Come home with me. Be mine own!” 

A young man, his skin white and his hair shining in the sun beckoned her over. 

“Your kind want nothing of mine,” the girl said. But he had a basket full of food and sweet wine and a tongue ready for conversation and she could not resist the chance to sit and eat and talk with another human being. 

“We would spend every day like this if you were mine. I will return tomorrow” 

Later that night she lay awake in her Forest bed - her lips longing for sweet wine kisses. Maybe the forest didn’t hold everything she wanted after all… 

The next day the Man brought her a dress of silk with tight drawn ribbons. 

“For you my lady.” As the butter soft silk caressed her skin, the man held out a sparkling ruby ring. 

“I can make you my Lady and you will never be lonely again.” And she was caught. 


The Man’s home was grand. White painted walls shone in the bright sunlight and far-travelled red roses lined the entrance. Within moments of their arrival, the WildWood girl was hurried inside by what seemed like hundreds of servants and she was bathed from tip to toe in warm water. Scrubbed free of the wild and combed free of the weather, her black hair was bound up with pearls and curled into neat ringlets.   

That afternoon, the Wild Girl and Rich Man walked through his gardens. She admired neatly arranged beds filled with strange and beautiful flowers imported from distant lands and carefully clipped conifer hedges. Around the gardens, a high, painted fence kept the wild at bay ensuring that not a leaf, petal or hair was out of place. Everything here was crafted to perfection, including the WildWood Girl. 

That night, as a soft breeze blew the day gently into night, the Man came to her room. Between tangled sheets and entwined limbs, her fears dissolved into a heady mist of love making. 

And so the days passed in an intoxicating haze of roses, sweet wine and glistening moonlit movement. 

Before the girl realised that time had passed, she felt the wind change and the sun move further from the land. And as the season changed, it seemed to her that the Man spent less and less time with her; his touch was rougher, his kisses quicker, his conversation clipped and curt. She realised how little she knew of him and his life. Her heart longed for home, but the loneliness of her past pinned her to her silk bed. 

One night, as she lay alone, a storm blew and the House shook and shuddered. The Girl was afraid. Once it was that a storm would not have worried her; she would have danced to the rhythm of the thunder, but in her fine room and in her thin night gown, the wind seemed wild and thunder fearfully loud. 

“I don’t want to be alone!” she cried. Footsteps and the door opened. Her Master stood in the open door way, silhouetted in sharp lightning flash, but he was not her master any longer. His brow was low and dark, his eyes burned with a furious lust, his gold stitched suit was ripped open and in his tense fist, a sharp knife screamed for blood. 

“No one notices, no one cares
For wild wood girls with crow black hair!
With me, WHORE!” 

And then she was being dragged into the dark, ripped from comfort, the garden, over flower and bush, the woods over rock and branch, heavy rain stinging her skin, thunder booming, deeper and deeper into sharp leafed woods. 

After what seemed like forever, she was thrown to the ground. The air was thin and sharp as cut glass. Through a curtain of soul cut rain, staghead of dying tree cast silent shapes onto the sour earth. But the wild girl’s eyes were caught - before her was a roughly dug pit and there, thrown and discarded like so many broken dolls, flesh battered and bruised bones shining white were the forgotten, lost bodies of black haired girls.  

“No one notices, no one cares
For these wild wood girls with crow black hair!” 

The girl screamed and ran but he knew the dance well. He grabbed her hand, he grabbed her hair, he grabbed her neck and drew the shining knife from his belt. 

Then the rain stopped and the moon, bright and sliver, gazed upon the girl.  

Eagles wing and open sky
Stolen sisters spirits fly
Eagle wing and white moon bright
You are lost I still fight 

The Wild awoke and the Wild knew their own. An eagle descended, claws outstretched and tore at the Man’s arm. He cried out and dropped the knife. A fox, flash of red bit into his leg. A bow of the staghead tree brought an antler crashing into his back. Racoon, mice, birds, branch, leaf and bush even the earth itself rose up and chased the young Man from the woods, away from their girl, their kin, their own. 

But the girl was already gone. She had grabbed the knife and run. Dressed only in moonlight, she ran till her feet bled and her red blood mingled with the black earth of the forest. She ran till there was no breath left in her body. 


Before her eyes opened, she could smell lavender. She felt soft cotton sheets and shook herself awake. 

“Shhhhhh,” a rich woman’s voice. “Be calm. You are safe. Now when you are rested sweet wild thing, you must tell me what monster did this to you and we must decide what we will do to avenge you.”


The grandest lady of the county was having a party and all the rich folk of the area were invited. And what a party it was - lawns strewn with candles, white suited servants holding gilt plates of delicate meats and fruits, elegant music and refined conversation. The Wildwood Girl was dressed in a fine white dress, but her dark eyes were focussed on finding that face that haunted her dreams. 

Then she saw him.

Eagles wing and open sky
Stolen sisters spirits fly 

The Party fell silent. Everyone turned to hear her song. 

A Wildwood girl as free as wind
Taken by a man so brave
Dressed in silk and ruby red
But I was living dead. 

A dark night came upon me
When fine Man’s knife was at my throat
Down into a wood so dark
Graves of girls; my masters past 

But the wind it came
And the wind blew moon to me
And the forest knew its own 

Alive a Wildwood girl I stand
FALSE man knife I have in hand
His name upon the hilt it reads
Their blood stained on the blade you see

For no-one knew and no-one cared
For WildWood Girls with crow black hair. 

The room was silent. The Man’s face was pale with terror and pushed into his chest, the hilt of a knife bearing his family crest. 

Days later, the county judge sent him to a high hill where a Mangrove Tree bore the weight of his body well and the wild wind gathered up the rotting pieces of his soul to burn forever in the fiery depths of hell.


The next morning the Lady smiled warmly.
 “All is now well. The trouble has passed and the monster slayed. I’m so pleased that no real harm was done.” 

That night the WildWood Girl could not sleep. Her mind was filled with their bone faces, the pit, bruised bodies and those words “no real harm done”....  

She left the Lady’s home and returned to the forest. She danced and sang once more where her ancestors’ bones lay sleeping in the warm earth, her feet were guided by a new and terribly truthful rhythm:

“No one noticed, no one cared

For wild wood girls with crow black hair.” 


Once upon a time, at the edge of a forest, a girl danced alone. She was the forest’s wild; ancient, rock-whispered stories inhabited her heart and guided the rhythm of her feet. But she was the last of her kind and she is gone forever. 

Memories fade but stories run deep into the earth. Let no-more blood of stolen sisters of Canada and North America be upon our 

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