Poet, Playwright, Workshop Facilitator
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Welcome to daily nature photo and creative writing blog, #NewThisDay

Welcome to my daily nature photo blog

Writing from My Photo Stream ~ Kelly DuMar


#NewThisDay Writing From My Photo Stream

Fish Eye, Brook Ice

Fish Eye, Brook Ice

Rain was a pleasure to wake to. It has been so dry in the woods, I looked forward to getting wet, and we did. Most of the river and brook ice has melted and beautiful pictures were hard to come by. We walked for a long, happy time in the rain and watched the drops splatter the river and brook. Tonight I had the chance to open my favorite Christmas present, a book from my youngest daughter, “Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year.” It’s a massive and beautifully illustrated book, and the poems are good ones: Today, the choice is “Amulet,” by Ted Hughes, about wolf energy. I am going to love reading this book every day for the next year after my walk in the woods.

In keeping with his beliefs in the supernatural powers of poetry, Hughes makes his own attempt to control the power of the wolf by constructing a poetic charm to contain its predatory energies with the poem ‘Amulet’, first published in Moon Bells and other poems28, and reprinted as the prefatory poem in Under the North Star29:

Inside the Wolf’s fang, the mountain of heather.
Inside the mountain of heather, the Wolf’s fur.
Inside the Wolf’s fur, the ragged forest.
Insude the ragged forest, the Wolf’s foot.

The form and rhythm of the poem are those of a magical incantation. By the repetition of of the word “inside”, the physical form of the summoned Wolf spirit with its fang, fur, tongue, blood and eye, is enclosed within its surroundings. And the circularity, which brings the Wolf’s fang into the first and the last lines of the poem, ensures that the Wolf’s power is contained within the poem. Whilst the wolf in this poem is a symbolic representative of wolf-nature everywhere (the word is given a capital letter each time it is used), Hughes has made its surroundings a realistic duplication of the natural wolf habitats which are, also, the natural surroundings of mankind.

In each line of the poem, the associated images have a progression and suitability which is enhanced by visual clues. The purple fang, for example, is linked with the mountain heather which, in turn, suggests the coarse wolf-fur, which is linked with the ragged forest. The Wolf’s foot leads the Wolf along the stony horizon so that its tongue may taste the Doe. And by linking the Wolf’s tongue and the Doe’s tears, Hughes specifies and contains the Wolf’s carnivorous appetites. The Doe’s tears become part of the frozen swamp and of the Wolf’s blood which is chilled by the snow-wind as the Wolf prowls through that wind with gleaming eyes. The final link between the Wolf’s eye and the North Star is the most powerfully magical link of all, tethering the Wolf to the Earth’s axis and completing the encircling magic of the charm.
— Excerpt from "Wolf-Masks: From Hawk to Wolfwatching. © Ann Skea First published in Scigaj, L (Ed.), Critical Essays on Ted Hughes," G.K.Hall & Co, New York, 1992. http://ann.skea.com/Wolves.htm
What does this wildish intuition do for women? Like the wolf, intuition has claws that pry things open and pin things down, it has eyes that can see through the shields of persona, it has ears that hear beyond the range of mundane human hearing. With these formidable psychic tools a woman takes on a shrewd and even precognitive animal consciousness, one that deepens her femininity and sharpens her ability to move confidently in the outer world.”
— Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
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