The Wolf

Illustration: ‘The Fall’, 40 x 40 cm, pastel and acrylic (from a photo taken of my friend’s daughter after she fell over. The photo was taken by her young friend)

Mother, why do you work all day?
To keep the wolf at bay, my dear,
to keep the wolf at bay.

When I was little and tiny and scared
I’d wait hunched for the wolf in the dark on the stairs
but the wolf did not come.

As I grew bigger and older and wise
I caught the wolf waiting with big orange eyes
but the wolf would not come.

That wolf still sits wary and waits in my dreams.
He hunches and winces
is subtle and lean.
He is waiting to hear me say ‘Dare, yes I dare’.
Beware, I dare not,
for the wolf is out there.

SJL, 1982

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