A Storyteller's Process and Competition Runner-Up: Penny Turner

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I wrote the poem about the wolf after I met a wild wolf in the mountains of Northern Greece where I was working as part of a sustainable development project for the area. I was in charge of horses, but also worked with a project to rescue dancing bears and wolf rescue. I became somewhat disenchanted with the "sustainable development" idea, because I felt that in order to make people feel less hostile to wolves they were being told that wolves were not what our hearts feel them to be..wild. So I wrote the poem about how wrong this attitude was.

Until I met the wolf I had at least colluded in the story that they were harmless, but after I met this wild wolf.. he was a lone wolf, moving through, and not part of the small pack that had this area as their territory. Although I had seen the tracks of these wild wolves and heard them howling on the dark mountainsides, I only recognised my true feelings about wolves when I met a wolf at dusk. I was cycling up a track not far from the village when I met him, and I understood the local people`s myth.. that if you meet a wolf if he meets your eyes first he will take your soul, and if your eyes hold his first, he becomes fawning and tame. Then I realised that in our wolf sanctuary the rescued wolves had lost all their dark magic, and that if the sustainable development of the area continued the wild wolves would have nowhere left to wander. Sustainable development was taking the soul of the wilderness in order that the wilderness might be saved. And I thought about our project..all these poor lost rescued civilized wolves and I realised they were scarcely wolves at all any more. And it was this paradox that I wrote about: if we don`t persuade people that wolves are harmless then they won`t let them remain in the forests, and yet..the very reason to have wolves is because of that uncompromising wildness, that wildness that I found myself in love with, a feeling that I know other people share.

Penny was a runner-up in the Wild Words Winter Solstice Writing Competition 2018, with this…


It is said that if you meet a wolf and he looks you in the eye first, then he will take your soul. If you stare into his eyes first you will tame him.. Nothing is said about what will happen if your gaze meets his at the same moment..

I saw a wolf in the gloaming

His eyes were silver grey

He halted in his roaming

And conjured my soul away.

I crossed his path in the gloaming

Met his eyes of silver grey,

Spellbound he stopped his roaming

I tamed his fierceness away.

My gaze dispelled his darkness

Left him blinking in the light,

But I desired his lost wildness

And to join him in the night.

The dark forest was around us

While he dazzled in the light

Soon darkness will surround us

And I`ll lose him to the night.