The Wolf and the Rose

Here’s another of my many “wolf” poems. I wrote a slew of them in the late nineties, and seems I keep finding more as I go through all my old files. As I’ve said before, I have always been fascinated by wolves; I find them to be an extremely romantic animal, and to me they epitomize the struggle of life.

The Wolf and the Rose


Lone white wolf on the hillside

Gazing down, he stands silent and still

Hungry eyes scan the valley

Searching for this night’s kill


The moon still fast asleep

On the cold world’s other side

Snow shawl wraps the mountain

‘cross the valley, so deep and wide


Wolf moves as if by magic

Slips quietly down the hill

Belly empty and aching

Demanding to be filled


Eyes roaming as he travels

He blends with the blanket of snow

Nothing else moves, no sign of life

Not a bush or a flower grows


Alas, he grows weak then stumbles

Another step and then he goes down

A groaning last breath escapes him

The cold world hears not the sound


His body lies stiff and frozen

Until at last comes the spring

Tis in the summer they find him

‘neath a tree where songbirds sing


A thorny bush with one red blossom

Casts shade on the spot where he fell

The birds warble a song bittersweet

A story of life in the wild they tell


They sing not a song of his death

Of his dying, his struggles and woes

They sing about life lived hard, yet full

For the wolf that lies ‘neath the rose


Copyright © 1999 C.  Mashburn

Sharing this with dVerse Poetics: Once Upon A Time. It’s not exactly a fairy tale, but I think it’s close enough. You might want to check out my other wolf poems, and especially the series I call “Changed“. It probably comes as close to a fairy tale as I’m ever going to get.


  1. Abby Kelly said

    Wonderful imagery. My husband has always had a thing for wolves. When I think about them in this capacity – I can see why.

  2. claudia said

    i think wolves are majestic creatures…romantic…yes…i agree but also unbelievably strong…and then the growing weak and dying hits even more..enjoyed it charles..

  3. what a moving tale charles…the wolf is such a wonderful creature…one we dont often get to see…a bit of magic there too of th honor the birds give in singing his life…one well lived….i will def check out others of the series….enjoyed immensely….

    • I’ve been a fan of wolves and read about them since I was nine years old.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Brian!

  4. Mary said

    A wild life is indeed not an easy life. They live hard, and they die hard…but live to the very end, accepting it, as most animals do. I always enjoy reading/ thinking about wolves too. The wolf beneath the red rose..SO sad really, but death with dignity.

  5. Poetically told Charles, don’t we all want songs of a well lived life in the end?

  6. Awww… I love wolves. At least he died free and of old age as they all ought to do! 🙂

  7. Laurie Kolp said

    How clever of you to write about the wolf who is found in so many of the fairy tales. This is beautiful and I like the celebration of his life rather than the sadness of his death… as it should be, I think.

    • I believe very much in celebrating life when it comes to an end.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Laurie!

  8. jcosmonewbery said

    Yes, there is something very primal about wolves.

  9. hedgewitch said

    I like this, Charles–it reminds me a bit of Kipling, especially the last stanza, with it’s measured sense of Nature’s unbreakable laws, and a Jungle Tale is just a fairy tale moved around the world. Wolves are indeed a deep and wide subject to inspire us.

  10. Very nice tale…I like that he was remembered not for his dying and woes but for his life in the wild. Don’t we all want to be celebrated like this?

    Have a good day ~

  11. Chazinator said

    I enjoyed the way that the tale is so precise in its description of the wolf. You give that sense, that I always find interesting, of the observer above watching a scene unfold in a world where no human has tread. The following lines struck me as complete in the sense that this is nature’s way and that celebration of a single life involves fullness, not emptiness:

    They sing about life lived hard, yet full
    For the wolf that lies ‘neath the rose

    • That’s kind of my writing style, Charles. Whether it be a poem, story, or novel, I tend to write as though I’m watching the scene take place before my eyes.
      Thanks for the visit and wonderful comment!

  12. hobgoblin2011 said

    Charles, excellently woven tale, very much resembling the fairy tale tradition. Even the title emulates the titles of lore. Oftentimes in fairy tales you do see something or someone pass, only for something higher or greener to come from it. I really like this piece a lot. Thanks

  13. Sherry Mashburn said

    Beautifully done . . .

  14. shanyns said

    Howl! From one friend of the wolves to another…howlingly good my friend!

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