A cautious nymph,
Flowers adorning her head,
Peeked out from trees
As travelers passed through her woods.
Deep orbs ridden with anticipation,
Contrasted by the silvery fading scars
That decorated her skin
From every night she watered
And tended to the trees.
From every day she spent
Ensuring that the inhabitants had food.
Each was painful in its own right
Yet enhanced her beauty,
Like stripes across a tiger’s back.
Every scab peeled off by her bitten nails
She had long since given up
On wiping off the blood.
Yet she still found the energy to live,
But just barely.
Her forest, too, found a way to survive.
It danced with her, weeped with her,
And it would eventually die with her,
Yet she insisted she was alone.
She urged every inhabitant to leave
Before her time came,
Before the forest they called home
Were to collapse.
Before it was too late.
But one Robin refused.
It sat with her as she cried,
Fat, salty droplets sinking into its
Until she was sure it would drown.
Instead, it shook off the water
And sang a tune.
A song of sadness, of mourning,
Of loss, of pain,
A song of growth, of change.
It sang of recovery,
Of tenderness, of self-adoration
Of the love the nymph had forgotten,
The affection she dismissed as arbitrary.
Only when it preened itself did the nymph
Catch a glimpse of the scars underneath
The downy feathers of its wings,
Each deep and scarred,
Only then did she see the years it had suffered,
The wisdom it had gained,
The trials it had endured.
Only then did the nymph cup it in her palms–
Smile fragile and apologetic–
And brought it to her lips.
She pressed a soft kiss to its crown
Dampening it with the residue of her tears.
On that day, the nymph learned to sing.