27
Mar

What the Trees Said When They Fell - March 2017

From Shaman's Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

The forest was an ancient tangle, so dense that whispers

could not be heard between the leaves, so tall

That birds became caught in branches and never reached

the sunlight, but spent their lives in the twilight

Layer where moss hung like ropes and the mist of ages

clung thickly to the air. Trees grew like sentinels

To history, older than animals, birds, or fish ever dreamed

of becoming when they were young and believed

 

That life would last forever. Those trees knew forever meant

long centuries of observation of weather, birds,

And animals, also ferns and moss, the sliding nature of

rocks embedded in mud and the temperament of snails.

Those trees grew up knowing all about one another, side by

side in a moss-green light, comforted by wind trying

To get between them and by rain falling in vertical shafts

anxious to penetrate their dry roots.

 

Those trees were necessary for balance, harmony, and beauty

in the world. All the animals and birds knew their importance

And spent their days and nights honoring their existence. Then brazen

people came and looked at the trees with calculating eyes.

They built roads and trails, then they cut them down, those ancient,

peaceful ones.

 

The trees fell gracefully, according to their nature,

one by one, with moans heard by birds and snails,

While in the river fish hid in dark pools. As the trees fell

they said: We bore witness to our time and

Each of you shall bear witness to a different time. Then,

where each tree fell, a child of destruction sprang up.

8
Sep

Commitment - September 2015

 

From Shaman's Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

Before we met, you and I were halves unjoined except

in the wide rivers of our minds. We were each other's

Distant shore, the opposite wings of birds, the other half

of a shell that keeps the clam from falling out.

We did not know each other then, did not know our determination

to keep alive the cry of one riverbank to the other.

We were apart, yet connected in our ignorance of each other,

like two apples sharing a common tree. Remember?

 

I knew you existed long before you understood my desire

to join my loneliness to yours. Our paths

Collided long enough for our indecision to be swallowed up

by the greater needs of love. When you came to me,

The sun surged toward the earth and the moon escaped from darkness

to bless the union of two spirits so alike that your

Pain became my discomfort. In the hour when I stood naked,

You were there to play the drum of life for us.

 

Beloved partner, keeper of my heart's odd secrets, clothed

in summer blossoms so the icy hand of winter

Never touches us, I thank your patience. Our joining

is like a tree to earth, a cloud to sky, and even more:

We are the reason the world can laugh on its battlefields

and rise from the ashes of its selfishness to hear me say,

In this time, this place, this way, I loved you best of all.

4
Feb

Why the Great Spirit Made Hands - February 2015

 

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.

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