She-Wolf, Kauttua 1963

For three nights the she-wolf skirted the village.
Must be desperate, to leave the forest, her cubs
must be starving.
The men oiled their guns, waxed their skis,
took their time, an easy target this one,
no hurry.

When she howled, her ahh oww, oww, owwww
sliced through the still air,
sliced right through the woman’s heart.
The woman’s baby daughter, butterfat and beautiful
slept in her fur-lined cot; maternal compassion
came easily now. Anger too.

Once the household stilled, she took meat,
strapped on snow shoes,
found her way, lit by an aurora night;
placed her offering at the forest edge,
tipped her face moonwards, felt her eyes narrow, yellow,
lips curl back over pointed teeth, lifted her head and wailed….

but softly, so only the despairing would hear.


Part of The Learned Pig’s Wolf Crossing editorial season, spring/summer 2017.

Image credit: Tom Jeffreys, Espoon Keskus, Finland, 2014


The Learned Pig

Beth Söderström

Beth Söderström has a degree in history from the University of Reading, is a qualified acupuncturist, supervisor and mentor. She has always been interested in the power of words and how we engage with our stories, ourselves. She moved to England when she was four and her dual heritage, English mother, Finnish father informs her work. She now lives in Somerset. She likes Nordic walking, preferably in the woods, on her own. She was born in Kauttua in Finland and rumour has it that one cold dark winter night, a wolf took a walk down the village main street...