Go bury your nose in a crabapple tree's blossoms and forget the snows of winter.
Why Flowers Smell the Way They Do, from Dancing Moons, 1995, by Nancy Wood
When flowers were first invented, they smelled like mud.
Dust shook out of their petals and no one
wanted to be around them for very long,
the rose especially. It smelled like dead leaves.
In those days there were order and grace
and predictability. Except for flowers,
beautiful yet unnoticed, things were what
they were intended to be. Birds were just birds and
Trees were just trees. Caterpillars crawled along
and the meadowlark could be counted on to sing
the way he was supposed to. Flowers refused
to smell good because they thought no one loved them.
So it was, for a long time. Then one day a beautiful
girl picked a wild rose and put it in her hair,
so boys would admire her as she passed by.
Sniff, sniff, they went, and turned to watch her.
One boy said: The smell of that wild rose makes me
want to fall in love. The other boys came closer
and smelled the rose. They all agreed. The flower
smelled sweet and made them fall in love, too.
From that day on, flowers began to smell the way they do now.
Especially the wild rose, worn in a pretty girl's hair.
This poem reminded Nancy's daughter Kate of the solitude Nancy needed to write her books.
Solitude, from Spirit Walker, 1993, by Nancy Wood
Do not be afraid to embrace the arms
Do not be concerned with the thorns
Why worry that you will miss something?
Learn to be at home with yourself
without a hand to hold.
Learn to endure isolation
with only the stars for friends.
comes from understanding unity.
arrives on the footprints of your fear.
arises from the ashes of despair.
brings the clarity of still waters.
completes the circle of your dreams.
Here is an unusual love poem by Nancy, chosen for February, the month of Valentine's Day.
Why the Great Spirit Made Hands, from Shaman's Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood
The Great Spirit made hands before he made
eyes or feet, so people could learn to hold
one another. Hands were useful for touching
the hard ribs of trees or the soft tongues of flower petals.
Hands discovered the dry uncertainty of snakes, the
slipperiness of fish, the mystery of feathers. Hands found
Other hands and clasped together to embrace the oncoming world,
unafraid. Two pairs of hands, burned by fire and cooled
by water, felt their way along unfamiliar paths and then
reached out and found they needed one another
to make a home in the wilderness of their minds.
This seems a good poem for the end of one year and the start of the next.
Reaching Back from Here, from Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood
Reaching back from here
All that I remember of my life
Are the great round rocks and not
The unimportant stones.
I know that I experienced pain and yet
The scars have healed so that
I am like the tree covering itself
With new growth every year.
I know that I walked in sadness and yet
All that I remember now
Is the soothing autumn light.
I know that there was much to make my life unhappy
If I had stopped to notice how
The world sings a broken song.
But I preferred to dwell within
A universe of fields and streams
Which echoed the wholeness of my song.
Look upward some evening in December, the month of the longest starry nights.
Ten Million Stars, from Spirit Walker, Doubleday, 1993, by Nancy Wood
Inside each raindrop swims the sun.
Inside each flower breathes the moon.
Inside me dwell ten million stars,
One for each of my ancestors:
The elk, the raven, the mouse, the man,
The flower; the coyote, the lion, the fish.
Ten million different stars am I,
But only one spirit, connecting all.