She has already been given her first red cloak
Trips lightly along darkened forest paths,
To walk the wild woods with Grandma,
Old hand in young
Although not for much longer.
He already scents her, his downy fur
Forming the pelt that one day
I hope will carpet my floor
And he pads after them
Testing, preparing the ground.
And me, I have my axe
But as yet it is a mere toy, a wooden thing,
I am too puny to wield what I must,
Regarded as too clumsy to brave an edge
Intended to slice through
The belly of the beast.
At school, Red smiles at me,
Tosses back that wilful hair,
Asks if I want to keep her company
Through rambling thickets, leave
The beaten track to gather the flowers
In which she delights.
But I know I’m not ready
And she laughs as I raise
My fraudulent weapon in mock-attack,
Unaware of leaf-shadowed eyes that covet her,
The ears that prick at the sound of her voice,
The sharp teeth framing a silent snarl.
Instead, I watch her run off alone,
Taking a road I will one day follow
Whilst I stand there, a toy soldier,
A hollow threat,
And I hear the wolves howl.
A whisper is a butterfly beating its wings
A tornado that spins out of control
Erupting into a message of war
When words become weapons
Blood writes the world red
And the people rise
A declaration is a warrior’s cry
The beat of a drum
Sounding the rhythm as thousands march
When words become soldiers
Blood fans the flames red
And the nations rise
Revenge is the demand of those destroyed
By the murder of war
When words become death
When bodies are broken
Blood washes bones red
And the dead rise.
You lay down beside me,
Ask me to colour you mine,
Needle on canvas, virgin skin,
Spreading the stain of your life,
Inking you in, I colour you red.
I roll you snake eyes, dice with death,
Plunge the dagger in a heart
That does not beat
And I paint you a world
That you have just left.