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John M. Marshall

The Black Wolf (The Song of Merlin)

The black wolf howls
as dusk prowls among the shadows.
Freed from the stones of ancient altars
his haunting song drifts above the willows.
As light retreats, the wolf entreats
the spirit of the moon to come forth
and shed her beams upon the dreams
of night’s primeval sleep.
Close to the flames of my evening fire
I sit entranced by the choir of spectral hosts,
as other voices repeat the sound
that shakes the ground like thunder;
and yet, in spite of the holocaust,
I sense some purpose I once lost to my vanity.
Hope swells within my soul
that like the wolf I might find
the muse of lyric poetry.
Here in the forest beneath the sky
I dream of the fires
my mother set in the apple groves.

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