In the Forest of Broceliande / Sandi Leibowitz

Huge oak tree in a misty forest.

You hear sounds
not barked by fox
or cooed by dove,
you hunters and you travelers.
Words not your own 
intrude upon your thoughts,
—mournful, sometimes chanted 
in a foreign tongue.

It is not me. 
No, I’m long gone 
though something of me lingers,
taps the oak to ascertain my spell holds true.
My spirit listens at the bole 
where prisoned Merlin holds eternal court,
crooning and intoning,
seeking to free himself
from the oak’s tight embrace.

Power. All that power
and he would have used it to seduce me,
steal from me my own true self.
So power’s what I stole from him,
his own true self I stole from him,
and gave him time, 
the gift of centuries
to regret or rage.  

Now he’s but 
the wraith of an immoral wizard,
immortal lecher,
treachery entombed,
no-corpse in a copse,
withered limbs and wretchedness
wound in a skin of bark,
a half-heard whisper in the woods.

Even after death,
there’s some satisfaction in that. 


Sandi Leibowitz, author of Eurydice Sings and the Elgin-nominated The Bone-Joiner, writes speculative poetry and fiction that may be found in Uncanny, Devilfish Review, Metaphorosis, Liminality, Polu Texni, Silver Blade, and other magazines and anthologies. Her poems have won second- and third-place Dwarf Stars, and been nominated for the Rhysling, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net awards. She created Sycorax Press, a micropress devoted to mythic poetry, and the related online magazine, Sycorax Journal. An elementary-school librarian, she also sings classical and early music. She lives in a raven’s wood next door to bogles in New York City. She invites you to visit her online at