"-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Frigg | Fall/Winter 2023/24 | The wife was wood, and out o’ her wit. | Paula Reed Nancarrow
artwork for Paula Reed Nancarrow's poem The wife was wood, and out o’ her wit.4

The wife was wood, and out o’ her wit.
Paula Reed Nancarrow

Look, you! and by that I mean listen up, you with no eyes and no ears, you with no legs, all rooted to the ground and tangled one with another, the messages you send invisible, inaudible. I am telling you: that trick in the Scottish play was a human hoax and you’ve no right to think you can borrow it. You’ve no rights at all, despite what Ecuador says. In league with the pooping birds you are, and heading north in droves. Not groves: the oldest word, the smallest unit, cleared of underbrush. Then wood: the place, singular or plural, wood the substance, wood the archaic adjective. Whose woods these are I think I know, they’ll drive you mad so in you go. Last word, forest: the outside woods, what the forum banned to the commoner in the Capitularies of Charlemagne, the royal game preserve. How my language clings to the Anthropocene and LOOK! YOU ARE NOT LISTENING!!! Malcolm wanted cover. Tolkien wanted Ents. Dorothy wanted an apple, and got herself pelted. What do you see through those knotholes anyway? What do you hear with those roots? You who are so lovely, dark and deep. Abandoning us to the zombie forests, without so much as a by your leaves, moving on up to the north side, breaking up the permafrost, colonizing the tundra. Whose fault this is I think we know. Do as I say, not as I do. Come back to us. Come back.

Paula Reed Nancarrow’s Comments

This poem is probably the most language-driven of the three presented here, and the least coherent. Forest migration is another consequence of climate change. The poem’s persona is frantic, and for good reason. The title, from a Scottish ballad, is an archaic use of the word wood (pronounced like food) in the Oxford English Dictionary. In 2008, Ecuador became the first nation to give nature constitutionally protected rights, rights upheld in a ruling which blocked a Los Cedros mining project in a protected forest. I wish zombie forests were a fiction; they are not. Heather Christle’s The Trees, The Trees was an influence.

Table of Contents

Frigg: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 62 | Fall/Winter 2023/24