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The Pull of the Forest

Dancing with Distraction Challenge Entry

By Paul StewartPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 2 min read
The Pull of the Forest
Photo by Vital Sinkevich on Unsplash

Deep in the dark, dense forest, there are trees towering over me, they are keeping me safe, but also keeping me on edge with a healthy dose of uneasiness

It feels like nighttime, even at midday, as the sunshine has been blocked out by the trees, and the sound of the local town starts to fade out, I'm alone

Serenity and anxiety are fighting against one another, cancelling one another out, leaving me somewhere between screaming and giving myself up to nature

There are the sounds of birds in the distance, further up the trees, none are coming down to see me, are they afraid or are they just biding their time?

Rambling through the forest, my breathing quickening...I come to a little brook, that makes a delicate but persistant trickling sound, I can see fish swimming in the clear water

As intense as my feelings of dread and worry are, they are not strong enough to stop me appreciating all that surrounds me, drinking it all in awe

Cold shivers run up my back from the base to my neck and through my short hair, I am afraid but not ready to go, I'm feeling the pull of the forest

There are the sounds of foxes and other animals in the distance, and something...more...surely not...

Is it my imagination, filling in the gaps of what I cannot see or is there more in this forest...

Old tales always speak of forests being alive...not just with life, but as someone with a healthy level of skepticism, I'm not so sure

Nests are filling above my heads, with birds looking down between the branches...I think it's time to leave, if only I could remember the direction in which I came...


Thanks for reading!

Another day, another entry into the Dancing with Distraction Challenge. You can find out more about it here:

Author's note: So, I sat down to work on one of the other pieces I have planned for other challenges or non-challenge pieces and then this came out. Sometimes it works that way.

I hope it made sense and landed well. Let me know what you think in the comments or by clicking the heart...maybe even do both. Anyone that knows me by now will know I love and appreciate the feedback!

Here are a couple of other recently published pieces:

You can also take a look at the rest of my work here.

surreal poetrysocial commentarysad poetryperformance poetrynature poetryinspirationalheartbreakfact or fiction

About the Creator

Paul Stewart

Scottish-Italian poet/writer from Glasgow.

I put myself into every piece of writing I publish.

A heady mix of experimentation, dark, light, emotion, heart, humour & more.

"Every man has a sane spot somewhere" R.L Stevenson

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Comments (11)

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  • Naomi Gold4 months ago

    This is such an unnerving read, and I mean that in the best possible way. It felt suspenseful. Maybe this is just my weird mind, but to me, it reads like a parable. My favorite line: “Serenity and anxiety are fighting against one another, cancelling one another out, leaving me somewhere between screaming and giving myself up to nature” All the other lines are dripping with anxiety and beauty, and the internal battle to surrender, but this line makes it clear exactly what is happening. It’s a narration of how our worries and fears, about things imagined or real, can prevent us from experiencing the sensual pleasures of being here on earth. When I read this, I felt like the forest was both literal and metaphorical, because our level of comfort within a forest is a good indicator of how comfortable we feel with our own wild nature. I used to live by a forest in Portland. It was quite unique, because I was inside the city, near plenty of public transit, and I could walk downtown where I worked. But I could also wander into the woods. I was doing a lot of shadow work at that time. I noticed how the woods brought up different unconscious emotions and subconscious thoughts within me that the modern world distracted me from. And then that ending… realizing the narrator is lost in these woods. Perhaps they won’t find their way out until they’ve given up, fully present in their reality—they’re truly lost, in more ways than one. Sometimes that acceptance is all the surrender one needs, and the way out is illuminated. Great work, Paul. I love the stories that just come out on their own, and this is definitely a story in addition to being an acrostic.

  • Grz Colm4 months ago

    Hey Paul. I love narrative style/free verse poems. This reminds me of your gothic piece a little while ago. I really enjoyed this one!☺️🙌

  • You awakened so many of my senses! I felt as if I was there in the middle of the forest. The line I related to the most is the one being torn between serenity and anxiety. Because I felt exactly that when I envisioned the scenario. Brilliant poem!

  • Heather Hubler4 months ago

    Oh wow, this was just really cool. Ace even (lol). I loved how I felt like I was there, very immersive. Only thing missing was a cool breeze to blow by and complete my freak out. Wonderful work!!

  • sleepy drafts4 months ago

    Ouuuu, this is so clever! I was hooked from the first line. What a fantastic take on the challenge! This was so wonderful to read! ❤️

  • Lamar Wiggins4 months ago

    I’ve done something similar a couple times where I missed deadlines but turned the work into something else. This was good Paul. It held my attention the whole way. 💖

  • Roy Stevens4 months ago

    Terrific Paul; the trees really are talking about us over their mycelial network of course!

  • Andrei Z.4 months ago

    Yes, it landed just alright! Quite nostalgic, now I'd like to go into the woods and play Maugli for a couple of let's say days:)

  • nicely done, I felt as if I were there

  • Ruth Stewart4 months ago

    Yes. Good. Not quite good. Maybe very good.....but definitely good. 🥰

  • Asif Ali4 months ago

    excellent work sir

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