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Forest Dreams

April 8, 2012

Shy spring stayed but a day;
summer came sauntering
through the fields, untimely.
Under the explosion of blossoms and birdsong,
mossy winter sulked in dark corners,
his treasure of sharp ice stolen.

It is a curious thing
that I should tread these trails
and never before see the sun rise
on the eastern hills – goldfingered dawn,
grasping bare branches.
The weight of fallen leaves,
the ghosts of marshes reclaimed from water,
and the spring’s first salamanders in the rain
summon the wordless spirits of Earth.

Turning from the westfacing windows of the library,
the tomes and the towers,
shall we gallivant through the groves?
Scrawl proposals for reckless journeys?
Shall we submit to the unconquered wind
that fells forests – or spread sails, and follow
the kingsroad blazed by white axe-scars,
wandering in a dark wood
in the twilight between seasons?

Down a path we did not take
in the forest of haphazard decisions,
through a gate of ivory, on a battered stool,
sits a poet penning psalms for august emperors.
Can you show me the way, said I;
and No, said he – I am another’s guide –
and shot a glance at Beatrice standing by.

In a hall under trees under mountains
shadows dance with a horned man,
twilight skirts twirling. Scuffed and muddy boots
beat a gallop. My wayfarer’s feet still
on the threshold. Bright a hawk’s flight
had led me from a grove of yellow leaves,
where stars born of ash glimmered in my palm.
There where the world overturned
I learned to flow, following touch and momentum
when swirling vision failed.

You who walked behind me,
green and sun-flecked, where I cannot see,
perfumed with leaves
born and rotted and reborn:
Teach me the names of the dead,
the language of stones, the footprints
of storms; turn me skinside out again,
for I cannot bear the wholeness
of this earth my body.

You whose hand steadied me
in this dizzy dance of suns,
hammering drumbeats and sparking songs,
heart-beating and heart-breaking:
Show us how to weave
the net of love, to bind the broken,
to bridge the chasm between worlds –
for our empty hands do not suffice
alone in chaos.

There is not enough silence in the world
to hold your words; not enough silence
to hear the breath of your song; not enough
silence to transmit the message
across the gap of comprehension.
There are not enough words in the world
to unfold your mysteries; not enough words
to crack the locks of the Light; not enough
words to explicate the purpose
of this sea of void and unvoid.

Among these rocks
where dreams cross
the lord of waterfalls
plows furrows
down through time.
And there is mother,
churning stones like butter –
no name, no face, and but a trace
of mercy.

Among these rocks
I find I have turned enough,
burned and become enough.
But the river flows, and the wind blows,
and the fire in my heart knows
the path goes on, climbing and winding.
Shall I ever find on this mountain
sunlight through wine,
bread broken in love,
and silence enough for words?

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