Insistent the old man woke me, night upon night he shook me from dreams leaving dark taste in my mouth. He was death yet alive, power roared within him, fear closed my ears to him and my eyes could not see him. Yet last night his voice reached me, stirred me from fear, his face, not death but potent life. Like kindly father he offered rough hand, hand in hand with ancient Ash, I walked into the night. All earthly sound retreated as we walked, the stars lighting a path beneath feet. His words echoed through my being, lyrical cadence calling me to path, a song of memory to light my way. He spoke to my blood least I forget and in final speech he uttered; ‘Not alone my girl’ as he leveled his eye upon mine and laid kiss on my brow. A single sound approached, beneath his words, through my thoughts, he smiled when he saw I heard it; pounding like drum, yet too quiet for human ear, pulse of thunder compressed within form. My eyes widened as recognition arrived, words tumbling forth from mind, ‘his beating heart’, my wise father did smile returning me to dream, awoken.