Dryad

Smooth-trunked and slender, the body you live in,
your spirit an echo at home in the heart
of a tree lightly swaying in time to a rhythm
the west wind is humming — its low, wistful part.

Your face in deep shadow — mysterious, veiled by
the green-knitted tangle of twigs in your hair;
you wild thing — you creature conceived in the womb-wood —
you haunt with your whispers, unsettle the air.

Your dress a moss patchwork — for lichens adore you
almost as much as the lingering sun,
and rain runs long fingers to love and explore you —
sighing and trembling, your secrets undone.

Your soul has a voice in the sough of cool branches
as you wake to the dewfall, leaves damped by the night,
and you stretch, wave at stars fading fast in the ether,
reach up, to be touched by the first rays of light.

How eagerly sun leans to stroke and caress you,
spreading pure pleasure along every limb —
for you are his muse — growing tall in your beauty —
a mythical being, and worshipped by him.

Jean Margaret Harvey

 

 

I recently discovered Jean's poem which seemed to fit perfectly with my painting and she has kindly given permission to print her poem alongside my painting.

Please see Jean's website at www.jmharvey.co.uk

According to legend Dryads are female tree spirits who inhabit trees, their lives are interwoven with the life of their particular tree. There are many types of Dryad and some are able to merge their own form with that of their tree. This idea is the basis for my Dryad paintings.

 I am fascinated by the structure and grace of trees and the way that their form divides the spaces between their branches. I have often seen suggestions of human and animal forms forms in the trunks and limbs of trees, and my discovery of the Dryad legend seemed to confirm this perception. Such perceptions can shift with changes in light or personal interpretation and often a figure can be seen only for second or two before it is gone.

My Dryad series began early in 2012 with the series of small watercolours, some of which were submitted to the MS trust Secret Art Show. The oil paintings were exhibited later in the year at Holmfirth Arts Week, and Huddersfield Art Soc exhibition. I have also worked with students at Huddersfield Grammar School on their own Dryad projects. I have recently illustrated another of Jean's Dryad poems, "Dryad's Dream".

 

THE DRYAD'S DREAM

 

I’m being wooed tonight by the west wind —

he teases at my buds and whispers low

and I pretend I do not hear him sing

the Elvish tunes from far and long ago...

 

Those words have magick in them, and his voice

seduces, makes me tremble as I lean

swaying like I have no other choice

but dip my leafy head in night’s cool stream.

 

The darkness swarms about me — holds me close

thus I’m a prisoner caught in Love’s long dream...

the notes soar melancholy, fall morose

and I am lost inside its tragic theme...

 

For I am spirit-bonded to this tree —

it is my heart, and I am bound to stay

forever as its guardian, faithfully

despite all that temptation throws my way.

 

But oh! its hard to steadfastly ignore

the wind’s caress — his so-beguiling tongue

I’m half in thrall — I tingle at my core —

each gust a promise — soon I’ll be undone...

 

Then morning comes...he’s vanished — all lies still

from deep my sap is rising, ’though I’m sure

I did not weaken and withstood his will

the dream persists — and nearly something more...

 

Jean Margaret Harvey

 

  • Dryad sketch  » Click to zoom ->

    Dryad sketch

  • small watercolour 2  » Click to zoom ->

    small watercolour 2

  • Dryad forms in Gouache  » Click to zoom ->

    Dryad forms in Gouache

  • small watercolour 1  » Click to zoom ->

    small watercolour 1

  • small watercolour 3  » Click to zoom ->

    small watercolour 3

  • small watercolour 4  » Click to zoom ->

    small watercolour 4

  • Dryad Tree 1  » Click to zoom ->

    Dryad Tree 1

  • Dryad Tree 2  » Click to zoom ->

    Dryad Tree 2

  • The Dryads 3  » Click to zoom ->

    The Dryads 3

  • Dryad Awakening  » Click to zoom ->

    Dryad Awakening

  • Dance of The Dryads  » Click to zoom ->

    Dance of The Dryads

  • The Dryads 1  » Click to zoom ->

    The Dryads 1

  • The Dryads 2  » Click to zoom ->

    The Dryads 2

  • Tree Man  » Click to zoom ->

    Tree Man

  • The Green Man  » Click to zoom ->

    The Green Man

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