the forest daughter

There once was a shy and quiet girl who grew up amongst ghosts in a goblin forest. She didn't speak the language of other children very well, or understand how to play their bright, childhood games. But at the edge of the day and in secret ways the forest shadows would draw her in, hold her, teach her to speak moss-language, and root-language, and the strange dead language of its own sad dreams. She learned to play with broken poetry; she sat waist-deep in haunted grass and knit the wind into tales.

And when she left the forest she lost her language for a very long time. Only when the ghosts of her memory became so heavy they were as heavy as forest shadow, tree dreaming, did she remember her native tongue.

She tried to get back to the goblin forest, but all her paths circled back on themselves, and all the old ways were gone. But when the sorrow of it got so tangled that she felt she could not move in any direction at all, she understood at last that her home was never the forest, it was the dreams, the poetry, the sad faraway feeling that would always draw her on, finding home in the longing, home in the remembering. She was a child of the forest. She was one of its ghosts.


  1. Oh lovely! I don't know why, but am reminded of the Rossetti's poem Goblin Market. A couple of years ago I heard it read by Shirley Henderson, (you know, Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter). It was read on a BBC poetry show and I played it on BBC iPlayer for as long as I could and then it was gone. Oh my goodness, Sometimes there's nothing as glorious as a beautiful poem read in the appropriate voice. Wish that recording still existed somewhere on-line.

    1. Shirely Henderson is such a wonderful actress, we have the DVD of her movie, The Taming of the Shrew, which is a modern version of Shakespeare's play. (I must admit, I really don't like Harry Potter much, and I feel even worse about the movies.)

      I agree, poetry read in wonderful voices is made all that more special.

  2. Haunting, beautiful, poignant story, I carried it in my heart as I walked through my ghost-wood today.

  3. Dream-like in its haunting beauty. I know that this will keep coming back to me in the days ahead. Thank you x