Copyright (C) 1998 by William Mistele. All rights reserved.

Let me just share a comment on what is involved for me in writing poetry.
Once long ago before I knew the ways of priests, magicians, and shamans, I
was chanting in the woods.  And two young deer sat down beside me.  We
spent the next two hours together.  I pretended to eat hickory leaves from
a bush and they ran beside me through the woods.  But it was not good.  
   I knew I was on the brink of  losing my human personality--if I
remained a few hours longer with these deer among these trees where the
light shines brown and green and the topsoil and the stream running down
are the silent wealth of the hills.  I would neither recognize nor
understand how to place my hand and press my thumb to open the door of my
car parked and waiting for me patiently at the mouth of the valley.
Perhaps days, weeks, or months later, I would wander on to a road and be
hit by a car or else be found starving and ill at the bottom of some hill
at the edge of a ranch, suburb, or freeway.  Then no medical doctor on
earth would be able to diagnose the spirit within me.  And so I chose to
return to my car and be haunted from afar rather than to walk alone into
the unknown.
   But that was long ago.  Since then I have learned the ways of shaman,
of shape shifting,  and transferring my conscious with ease into trees,
rocks, stones, seas, every breeze, and other manifold forms of nature.
And so now when passion reaches or falls on me it finds a kindred spirit,
a soul with an inner land of forests, mountains, and seas where it is free
to roam. Last night, for example, I was delighting in a ritual of passion
and fire soaked in sweat like an ancient hunter who has transformed into
the creature he is stalking.  And so this poem of celebration:

                     I am the Wolverine

I am the wolverine
Wolves, mountain lion, and bear
Flee from me or else climb trees
To escape the fear I cause
Because of the terror 
In my teeth, my jaws, and my claws
Their game I claim as my own
All this land I roam is my home
The Goddess of the earth has declared it so
She has placed this ferocity within me
A gaze so cold, alone, and bold
Others' hearts weaken
The fire in their eyes dies--
It is wise they avoid me
That they keep their distance 
They know that if I wished 
I could steal their soul life
The way the moon steals beauty from the night
Or the stars steal rapture
From the dark emptiness of the void.
Though my reputation is well-known
Few fathom my inspiration--
I am the will that turns the seasons
That changes night to day
It is what I am
I am its manifestation
That is to say
What shines in my gaze 
Is beyond mortal understanding
You may think it odd 
I speak so openly, freely, and with eloquence
But intelligence is no defense
And reason is no shield
Against the powers I wield
I take what I need
I leave claw marks on the bark of trees
My smell is sharp
I see in the dark
The possibilities others' hearts can not conceive.
I am the wolverine.

Back to Stories and Poems