Frail cloth and wood shut out the greater Wood.
I wrap myself in pine-panel and glass,
the curtains drawn, a childish, flimsy hood
against the grown-up depths, footsteps which pass
unheard along the deck, upon the roof.
I shun the windows which I cannot hide,
where trolls might press their faces, living proof
the forest peers right back, big-nosed, wild-eyed
against the pane. The night draws close and old
about my shell, forbids yet beckons, “Come,
the secret beauty waits, plunge into cold
and hidden dark.” For scattered there, among
the shadow trunks, the deep ones call me, scars
of light which mark out greater depths, the stars.
CG Olsen lives in Berkeley, CA, where he is the resident expert on Viking poems about pictures on shields. He is currently a lecturer at UC Berkeley, where he gets to teach fun courses like Scandinavian Folklore and Norse Mythology. He is a doctor, but you probably shouldn’t ask him for a prescription (unless it involves Swedish nature beings or Norse gods). He has previously been published in Fables E-zine and the Rose and Thorn journal. You can find out more about his work and the books he likes at his blog: vikingsbooksetc.wordpress.com. He says:
I wrote “The Cabin and the Stars” several years ago while staying at my family’s cabin in the Santa Cruz mountains. I was just getting started on an astronomy kick and was feeling simultaneously drawn to and intimidated by that impossibly deep universe which our sky opens into. I was staying at the cabin alone, and for some reason being in that physical space from my childhood put me in that mental space as well — the world was beautiful, but terrifyingly so, and each imagined noise was potentially a scary Other just past those thin walls. Some of the windows in the cabin have no curtains, and I was unable to shake a vision of a troll’s face pressed up flat against the pane. It was wonderful, in a way, like the world was alive again — but I had to brave this lesser darkness to step out on the brink of this much greater abyss which I had discovered and loved.