by Holly Black
Like coughing a bite of apple from a slender throat
Like a grandmother reborn from a wolf's belly
Like slipping a foot into a glass shoe
Like a frog prince thrown against a wall
We slough off the skin of the old year
And wait for what's underneath to toughen.
The photographs today are of the "cloutie tree" (or "wish tree") near my studio, in its mossy winter guise. For more about the folklore of clouties, see this previous post: "The Blessings of the Trees."
Holly Black's poem first appeared in The Journal of Mythic Arts (2008). The poem in the picture captions is from The Thing that Mattered Most: Scottish Poems for Children, edited by Julie Johnstone (Scottish Poetry Livrary, 2006). All rights reserved by the authors.