The Rowan Tree by Marina Lee Sable

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Transformed to wood,

I am a deathless secret

encased in spellbound bark.

But there is solace in the rowan.


I am alone, except for history

conjured back as a wraithlike chant

within a church of crumbling stone,

fallen beams, and torn roof.


The dark song of the dead still haunts

the place where spirits whispered

fragments of their lives scattered

in crushed seeds upon my leaves.

Their memories, melted jewels

decanted into a bowl of dust.


But today, a witching wind

howls through my branches,

bends them to its dour song,

snaps twigs and sheds confettied

leaves, sprinkling headstones, sedge,

the folded wings of a marble child

serene in saintly sorrow.


The sky is cleaved by lightning

that stings this slender bole to rifts

and singes bark to flame-crackle.

Cinders flutter like jittery bats

trapped in an updraft, and clustered

berries sizzle and burst

like firecrackers at my dying roots.


Where once the staves of wood

spelled runes, and leafy branches

sheltered the tomb’s decay

of tumbled dreams and shadow lands,

they now slump as broken stumps

upon the mulch. Ruined,

I have become a stranger to myself

and any magic that dwelt within me

is now a blackened pyre.


No songbird visits my burned

and severed limbs,

only the circling caw of crows

to resonate a darker vision.


Night awakens to the silver screech

of misted moon and shattered curse,

my firebird soul released at last

to leave this desolate domain.


BIO: Marina Lee Sable’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in ChiZine, Scheherezade’s Bequest, Tales of the Talisman, Unspoken Water, Linger Fiction, Bull Spec, Sounds of the Night, parABnormal Digest, Bête Noire, Niteblade, and other magazines.