The Strange One

They led the strange one into the woods
To the tree that stands like a twisted snake
And the hawthorn bush it tore his skin
But never a sound did the strange one make

Like a semiquaver from a flute
Only a blackbird piped his passing
For he was a puzzle, a question mark
As they led him on where the dark was massing

The shy musk rose, she hung her head
As he danced and jerked on the dule tree's arm
And they left him alone in the quiet night
Hanging there, like a wish-tree's charm

Nobody came to mourn his loss
No keening mother to close his eyes
With a coin, a prayer and a shrill lament
The strange one, under the forest skies

by Sheena Blackhall

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