With the tail end of twilight, descent by chance
Down into my valley, I notice your steps
You a traveler footsore with your hem in the dust
Seeking safe rest, in grass dry or lush
At the base of the slope, under the apple tree
You lay down your pack and drop to your knees
And from within my marsh I dart and I drift
In watching you, stranger, with keen interest
The first to pass through in a seeming age
A bell on your belt, and your cloak an array
Of patches and colours that speak of far places
Of roads well-worn and of roads that wait
In the now-darkness, the tongues of your fire
Flash hungrily through the reeds and the briars
And I coalesce as you lay down your gloves
To warm and to eat your journey-fare rough
I need not look upward, I feel and I know
The full summer moon and the stars’ cool glow
Which limn you in silver upon your fire’s dying
As the shadows spread wings on their nightly flying
Now from my haunt, on the breeze I dance
From the reeds to the slope, to an apple tree branch
I rustle the leaves, and the sounds of the night
Swell with my laughter, echo my delight
Your ears stir then – even in sleep
And I drift down, a silk-winged seed
To whisper nothings, to skim over your cheek
To tussle the grass by the tree where you lie
‘Till at my play, traveler, you open your eyes
You rise from your blanket, the cloak of colour
To follow my lure and gift me your wonder
I revel in your haste as you follow my way
Bell tinkling eagerly on the path that I trace
Over the water, through brambles and sinkholes
One hand holding skirts as the other implores
So I beckon for you to fill your grasp
From rock to stump through mists of the past
Winking, hovering, a guide through the maze
Where hours of nighttime blur and soft fade
Where you tire not, but enraptured, rush on
And where I feel with regret the coming of dawn
For you, lone traveler, did not falter or fail
But followed me faithful on all of my trails
To be left under the apple tree with the sunrise
The night a dream-memory fresh in your mind
Yet rouse you will, and begin your journey anew
Shaking your cloak of the fallen dew
Leather gloves donned, and dirt over ashes
Hoisting your pack you climb to the pass
Yet a pause at its edge reveals your longing—
And I know that you, traveler, may go wandering
You may see cities, mountains and oceans
Wonders of earth and wonders of men
But when the moon is ripe, the world a-hush,
You will recall, your feet will be tugged
To the marsh in the valley, come at my wish
And dance with me the dance of the will-o’-the-wisp
Elizabeth Cook, 2012
36 thoughts on “Will-o’-the-wisp”
I like how you made a story involving the wisp 🙂
This is so perfect! loved it!
Thank so much for reading and commenting 🙂
I love that image, it so goes together nicely w/your poem!! 🙂
Thank you! Good old google images, haha
The poem is fantastic! Keep up the good work!
Thank you very much, I appreciate it!
Wow – I love this!!! It’s so musical! 🙂
Oh, thank you very much! I really enjoyed writing it 🙂
Well, Lily, what can I say…, I really didn’t like this one…, at all !!!
I LOVED IT !!!!!!!!! A wonderful, magical litll story so well written that I couldn’t turn away til I’d read the end ! Fantastic!
Marvelously evocative of the night-long dance in the forest. The middle part (from “You rise” to “coming of dawn”) builds lushly on the rest of the piece. Brava!
That’s exactly what I wanted to evoke 🙂 Thank you very much!
Your gorgeous words took me deep into the forest world. Luscious! ^_^
I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading, and your kind comment!
Enchanting! I could really picture it in my mind, the imagery was so strong!
Also, I nominated you for the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’: wp.me/p2WgNh-3O. 🙂
Thank you very much, both for your kind comment and the award! I’ll be sure to come by and check it out soon 🙂
Hi, I nominated your blog for the liebster blog award. http://jenkinskatie847kj.wordpress.com/achievements/my-1st-liebster-award/ , keep up the great writing. Looking forward to your next post.
Thank you very much! I’ll be over to check it out 🙂
A delightful dance of whimsey written with a lovely rhythm and phrasing. Very well done.
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
thanks for sharing! this is nice and warm to read on a chilly sunday
I’m glad it was a good read on a grey day 🙂 Thank you for visiting and commenting!
Completely reminded me of “Brave!” : )
Beautifully re-created the image of the wisps in their own story. Lovely.
Oh thank you, I haven’t seen it yet and I want to! I appreciate you reading and commenting 🙂
Oh, I definitely recommend that movie! : )
Absolutely beautiful! Also loved the image.
Thank you very much!
I have come back a second time to read this. It is so beautiful and atmospheric.Study hard because you will be using that economics degree in the future to manage your income from your creative writing!
Wow it’s really nice to hear that you wanted to read this again! I’m really flattered 🙂 Haha I’ll study hard, and you know they say most people don’t end up doing what their degree was for
Thoroughly enchanting. Very well crafted with wonderful word choice and phrasing. And delightful imagery. Thank you.
I’m very glad you thought so! Thank you for visiting and commenting 🙂
I love this so much. So charming, enchanting and magical. Well done! 🙂
“Lovely” is the only feeling I can think to utter at first./ thank you for this, Lily, your clever word-talent comes like a song this way. Please Keep on.
Thank you so much! It has been a while since I wrote one like that. Maybe I should get back to it 🙂