The starting point for this piece was, of course, the line from the much-quoted Robert Frost poem, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.
It goes like this "The woods are lovely, dark and deep/ But I have promises to keep ..."
I grew up near woods and, whilst in daylight, the trees, boulders and bracken were a perfect playground for an active and imaginative child, at dusk their appearance grew dark and menacing: weighted with potential danger.
Standing nervously at the wood's edge as darkness fell, perhaps searching for a wayward dog, I would begin to notice unfamiliar noises or the wind rising among the massive, dark trees, whose benign daytime appearance had become subtly changed.
Then imagination would become my enemy and I'd take to my heels.
As an adult, nothing much has changed. I still pass woods at dusk, hesitate, then hurry on.
The woods are dark and deep, it’s true,
but are not lovely.
I peer in
to watch light die out tree by tree
and, branch by branch, darkness accrue:
a furry dark, black as moleskin,
that seems to watch me balefully
as though I were some pausing prey
that dare not either fight or flee,
instead stands, mesmerised,
I shout and hear the ricochet
of my voice fly from tree to tree.
or ever will.