Wolf at the door

A friend sent me this photo after my recent pareidolia poem to a face in a cloud – pareidolia being the misperception of a stimulus as some familiar object, pattern, or meaning. It’s a normal phenomenon. The human brain’s visual system has a specialized mechanism for face recognition: the fusiform face area. We see, we interpret, we strive to make meaning, in more ways than we ever realize…

So: Do you see the wolf in this wood panel?

Imagine, then, seeing it in your house as a small child, every time you enter your bedroom… seems there could be a lesson here about our worst monsters existing only in our minds, but today the wolf has demanded a poem.

Far be it from me to argue…

Don’t really feel like playing
Not sure I should be saying
In case it hears me
Because it skeers me
That wolf beside my door.
Don’t want to go to bed
If a hundred times it’s said
It’s waiting in the dark there
To snarl and bite and bark there
That wolf beside my door.
What will it do as I go past?
Even if I try it super fast?
No one else knows why
I sit in the floor and cry
Except the wolf beside my door.
Please, I want to say,
Won’t you just go away?
If you will let me rest
I’ll do my very best
Oh Wolf—give me my door!
I hear his wild laughter
Ringing ever after
“Tell me, then, what for?
You’re not a child any more,”
Said the wolf who’s at my door.

With thanks to my friend for the photo and the idea, and to Two Writing Teachers for providing a word-playground for a Slice of Life to run and be free.

18 thoughts on “Wolf at the door

    • Alas! It’s like those autostereograms, waiting for a 3D image to pop out of the colors and static patterns … so interesting how differently we see things and make subsequent meaning. Thanks so much for your words about the rhyming, Stacey 💕

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    • 🎉 Glad you can see it! “Skeers me” was unplanned- it spilled right out after “hears me” and I decided it should stay. I tried to walk again in a child’s shoes for a moment, around that “skeery” wolf… thank you for reading and for your thoughts!

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  1. I also love how it begins as the voice of a child then the turn, the surprise. Some experts think a poem must have a turn. There is a local plantation home that has the faces of two children in a mirror. The children died of poisoning so it’s believed to be haunted.

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    • Thank you, Margaret. I knew where I wanted the poem to end – getting it going was the challenging part. I didn’t know experts think a poem must have turn – fascinating. Makes me think of short stories. That plantation mirror-! The children dying of poisoning is haunting in itself. I imagine that is a draw for tourists – the appeal of the macabre. When I was younger I adored ghost stories and have always wanted to write some.

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    • Ah, Collins – I love his work but hadn’t read “Creatures.” so I just did! Those faces in the wood, in the furniture – so like my wolf at the door. Love how that poem ends. Thank you for the reference and also for your response to my verse. I am wondering if I should outline the wolf’s face in the photo for others to see, as some can and some can’t. Which is fascinating to me in itself.

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  2. Oh, the twist at the end! And then it had me thinking: What is the wolf at my door, what imagined fear is holding me back today? We are so good as educators in helping students get over their fears of ineptitude, but that skill doesn’t always carry over into our own self-care.
    On an amusing note…I see faces in the old, patterned linoleum in my teeny bathroom at home…

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    • So glad you enjoyed the twist at the end. I think folks – educators, surely – are feeling like they’re battling lots of wolves at the moment. Fun to think of those faces in the old linoleum, and of conversations they might have when no one’s around!

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  3. Oh, the twist at the end! And then it had me thinking: What is the wolf at my door, what imagined fear is holding me back today? We are so good as educators in helping students get over their fears of ineptitude, but that skill doesn’t always carry over into our own self-care.
    On an amusing note…I see faces in the old, patterned linoleum in my teeny bathroom at home…

    Like

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