The Tarot Tree in Riddled with Arrows 2.2!

I am very pleased to share that my first online publication was with Riddled with Arrows, a journal of meta-writing and meta-poetry that is just lovely and fun for people who like writing and writing about writing (and maybe even writing about writing about writing…it’s writing all the way down!). For those of you who know anything about my undergraduate program, Plan II at UT Austin, you know meta is like…Our Thing. Or, at least, it was, 15 years ago. I assume it still is, because, some things don’t change.


I’ve also always been drawn to poetry and writing that acknowledges itself as such. I would never want it to be the only thing I read, and certainly not the only thing I write…but I am supremely self-referential and have to keep a conscious throttle on not inserting myself into everything, not demolishing the frame that holds the picture as if it is truth. Look through my eyes becomes impossible if authorial self is present, if a reminder that this imaginary object is imaginary is inserted. So often I remove such lines when they sneak in, or choose not to write from that angle, and when I find something I cannot not write from that angle, I wonder who would ever want to read it besides me? It is pretentious, is it not, to talk about one’s work within the work?

But sometimes there is a value in calling a spade a spade. Some things cannot be said obliquely, but only with direct acknowledgment of medium. And thus, my contribution to Riddled with Arrows Issue 2.2 “The Invisible World”.

Updated 2021 to include the text of my poem here, but I encourage you to go read it and/or the full issue over there!

* * *

“The Tarot Tree”

One picture might be worth a thousand words,
But what of things that eyes alone can’t see?
The staggering display of tree surfeit with fructed life—
The Empress in complacent bounty sits
Her red and gold and green, and peace,
O’erlaying limbs of taupe and umber fountaining.
An incandescent cloak of purest green
Like water’s spray, translucent in the sun,
The streaming gold behind it limning leaves with halos bright.
No image ever could quite capture
Both figure and suggested form.
The lines could never strike you thus
Across all time and space.
But words can hold both tree and queen
Entwined into one aspect new,
For words reveal what image can’t:
In words appears the mind.

-Elena Nola

Published by

Elena Wolf

Elena Wolf - or Elena Nola, for poetry - is an MBTI type alignment mentor, relationship coach, and Norse-tradition shaman. In 2005 she received her B.A. in English and Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin, and in fall 2020 completed a year-long training as a 4 People Within mentor. Around that same time she began training in shamanic facilitation with Dr. Dario Nardi and has been running journey groups on her own since summer of 2021. You can read more about her professional work at Her poetry can be found at

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