Coven Verse | The Wych Elm, by Meghan Purvis

Coven Verse is a poetry series on Little Red Tarot, sharing witchy and magical writing from our community and beyond. Want to submit a poem? Send it to along with – optionally – a brief bio.

The Wych Elm

The tree stands full of starlings, grooves around its base
where cats scratch and foul the earth, furious
the bark won’t hold them when they climb.
A lost parakeet dawdles in the lower branches,
a flash of yellow feathers invisible as night comes.

I could join them – could put my hands to swollen knots
shaped as if meant for my palms, throw my shoes in the river
and climb to the tree’s first broad split, slip warm-bodied
into its hollow trunk. As if its wood was so much party-dress,
as if anything like taffeta could stop my mouth.

Meghan Purvis

Meghan Purvis has an MFA from North Carolina State University, and an MA and PhD from the University of East Anglia. Her translation of Beowulf was published in 2013 by Penned in the Margins, and was a Poetry Book Society recommended translation. She splits her time between California and London.

Image of wych elm flowers via Wikimedia Commons.

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