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In the forest

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Trefor in the Forest

Trefor is a young man sent on a quest by Merlin, together with a group of knights. His only role is to care for their horses. But once he becomes separated from the knights, he finds himself left to wander with a horse too tall for him to ride. Driven into the forest by danger, Trefor is soon lost. As he aimlessly wanders, leading the horse, he becomes introspective. He is unwittingly holding a conversation with the spirits of the forest, which tempt him to fear and doubt.

The poem is written in short sections, each using a different rhythm to express Trefor's changes of mood. This is the nature of Aurorielle's uniqueness - throughout the story, changes in rhythm are used to achieve dramatic effect, or to indicate the character of the speaker.

~ Dave Knight.

Click to hear (.mp3)

The floor of the forest is covered
with a carpet of withering leaves;
the pathways are few and forgotten,
and bewildering courses he weaves.
The horse by his side brings him comfort,
for without it, his fear would consume;
attending to harness and tackle
helps hold back pressing thoughts of his doom.

Time flows, ever dreary;
give up this life of which you weary.

Weary, no starlight steers me;
I feel as though the forest hears me.

Trickling, through soft sand tickling,
elusively small streams flow through the trees.
They wander through the forest as they please,
and though the bowl fills slow, he drinks his ease.

Hunger, his growing hunger,
cold claws at Trefor’s stomach; now his eyes
no longer can continue to despise
the stranger fare that in the forest lies.

Dying, trees rotting, drying;
their carcasses support small life that man,
observant wand’rer, harvests as he can,
and loathes his life, though he prolongs its span.

Stumbling, up small cliffs crumbling;
he clambers them to view his green despair,
and then climbs down to Meirion the mare,
perceiving, once again, no hope is there.

Beech mast, the trees now downcast;
but many of the fruits and berries fail.
The squirrels harvest hard against the hail;
the coming frost and ice will end his tale.

Time flows, like a river -
the year is old; soon you will shiver.

Wand’ring brought me sighing;
when winter comes, I shall be dying.

In the vastness of the forest
where the tall trees grow,
and the sun shines not,
and the boughs bend low;
there wanders Trefor
with the great grey mare,
in the weird wild lost,
with his soul stripped bare.

All of the terrors
of this dire dark age,
’gainst the mad last chance
of an aging Mage,
fly to surround him
in the gath’ring gloom,
with his faith long lost
in the cold green tomb.

Time flows, like a river;
your spirit cries out for its giver.

Soon comes my hereafter;
I hear death readying his laughter.

The twisted shafts of leprous folded flesh,
supporting pallid plate or mottled mound,
remain the last things living in the ground;
and Trefor now is trapped within the mesh -
the living trap, the insufficient wild;
the place where no one lives and no one goes.
He gathers fungi, counting up his woes -
but mushrooms oft have wiser men beguiled.
Forlorn, he eats his nemesis alone;
all that his famished stomach could desire.
He feels within the consequences dire,
as shivers spread throughout his flesh and bone.
Cold fevers hold his forehead like a vice;
his mind departs his body in a trice.

Time has proved your master;
your quest is ending in disaster.

Thus will end my hungers;
my nemesis, a lowly fungus.

My spirit rises upwards in the air;
I see my starving body lying prone.
Now mindlessly it chews the cold, damp earth;
I mourn to see it lying there alone -
reduced to this.

My resting place is in a little clearing;
cold shafts of sunlight flicker though my soul.
The colour blue, so long forgotten now
forms silent shapes among the clouds that roll;
shall I ascend them?

The faithful mare has all the grass she needs now;
she stands at guard, a-grazing by my head.
A wreath of wild flowers forms around my body,
as if creation knows I’ll soon be dead;
my bones shall rot.

The little stream that flows through here is singing;
I hear its death song, calling out to me
to leave this life, and dance the flashing waters;
now far from fear and failure would I flee.
What must I do now?

Time has stopped, uncaring;
give up, curse God, and die despairing.

Although I die in failure, I’ll not scorn;
these words alone should be enough to warn!
Although dejected off to God I go,
I call on Him to show my hidden foe!

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