My Own True Family
Once I crept in an oakwood — I was looking for a stag .
I met an old woman there — all knobbly stick and rag.
She said: "I have your secret here inside my little bag."
Then she began to cackle and I began to quake .
She opened up her little bag and I came twice awake —
Surrounded by a staring tribe and me tied to a stake.
They said: "We are the oak-trees and your own true family.
We are chopped down, we are torn up, you do not blink an eye.
Unless you make a promise now — now you are going to die.
Whenever you see an oak-tree felled, swear now you will plant two.
Unless you swear the black oak bark will wrinkle over you
And root you among the oaks where you were born but never grew."
This was my dream beneath the boughs, the dream that altered me.
When I came out of the oakwood, back to human company,
My walk was the walk of a human child, but my heart was a tree.