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Flora, Fauna, Persona
the art & writing of Desirée Isphording
The Forest Queen 
8th-May-2009 03:48 pm
I'm made of the bones of the branches, the boughs, and the brow-beating light
While my feet are the trunks and my head is the canopy high
And my fingers extend to the leaves and the eaves and the bright
brightest shine, it's my shine

And he was a baby abandoned, entombed in a cradle of clay
And I was the one who took pity and stole him away
And gave him the form of a fawn to inhabit by day
Brightest day, it's my day
— "The Queen's Rebuke/The Crossing"

The Decemberists recently released album, The Hazards of Love, was inspired by English folksongs. The entire album is one storyline flowing though different songs, following the tale of two ill-fated lovers. One of the most intriguing characters, voiced by Shara Worden, is the Forest Queen. True to the traditional balladry, she is a mysterious, powerful figure whose morals are ambiguous — she is at times merciful and vengeful, lovely and wicked by turns. Much of the story woven by the album is reminiscent to me of Tam Lin (Offa's Wall does sound similar to Carterhaugh, and there is shape-shifting and an illicit pregnancy to be had), and I think perhaps this Forest Queen may be one and the same as the Faery Queen in that famous folksong.
8th-May-2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you, lovely.
9th-May-2009 12:12 am (UTC)
How interesting. I didn't tie the album as directly to Tam Lin as you do, but your argument is interesting. The Forest Queen actually reminds me very strongly of the Queen of the Wood from Patricia McKillip's The Book of Atrix Wolfe and Winter Rose.
9th-May-2009 04:41 am (UTC)
I don't think Meloy intentionally wrote the Forest Queen as the same faery figure in Tam Lin, in that sense it is not direct at all, but to me there was a connection on an archetypal level.
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