What have I learned during this life

From Shaman’s Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

What have I learned during this life of falling often on a path that

offered me direction I did not take? The language of snails.

 

Why did I ignore the advice of those who had lived a long time?

So that I could embrace my own mistakes.

 

Who was willing to accompany me on my painful journey?

Myself alone, dragging along the shadows of experience.

 

What shall I give to those ready to embark upon an even steeper
path?

An open heart. Resistance to despair. Laughter. Most of all,

 

The love of birds, animals, and spirits who watched my progress and said,

Though you have arrived, you are nowhere at all.

Wherever my eyes fall – November 2018

 

From Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood

 

Wherever my eyes fall

I see you everywhere.

In the still pond gathering ice

To conceal itself from winter

You are the deep shy water.

In the slow built sparrow’s nest

Of infinite eggs and seasons

You are the mother to spring.

In summer flowers bursting

Down from the mountaintop

You are a wild and fragile dancer.

In the autumn wind at odds

With the disappearing leaves

You are the promise of next year.

Wherever my eyes fall

I see you everywhere.

You have thus become my vision

As my eyes go blind with years.

Time takes me on its wing – September 2018

From Hollering Sun, 1972, by Nancy Wood

 

Time takes me on its wing

and I travel to the sun

And am consumed by fire.

Time takes me on its wing

and I travel to the river

And am drowned in water.

Time takes me on its wing

And I travel into the earth

And am a mountain not yet risen.

Each place that I go

Others have gone before me.

That is why

The sun dances

The wind weeps

The river leaps

And the earth sings.

Neither the sun nor the wind

The river nor the earth

Did these things

Before man was placed in the world

To believe it.

Many winters I have lived – July 2018

From Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood

 

Many winters I have lived

Ever since the beginning of time

When the first snow fell

Covering the tired earth

Which played with endless summer.

Many winters I held the water captive

On the tops of many mountains

Still warm from the earth’s beginning

When the moon and the sun gave birth

To one full circle of beauty.

Many winters I blew the stars around

So that the place where each star fell

Was where a river grew

Taking as its course to the sea

The path of the winter sun.

Many winters the trees slept with me

And the animals walked on my breast

Just as the birds drew near

Seeking warmth from my fire

Which took the sting from the night.

Many winters I have been

Companion to the lonely moon

Chasing after the raging sun

Which listened to our song of thanks

Before releasing earth from winter.

Many winters I have lived

Ever since the beginning of time

When out of the melting snow

Came the first frail flower which said

I am the spirit of spring.

The earth is all that lasts – October 2017

Nancy Wood poem poster 14 - The earth is all that lasts

FromĀ Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood

 

The earth is all that lasts.

The earth is what I speak to when

I do not understand my life

Nor why I am not heard.

The earth answers me with the same song

That it sang for my fathers when

Their tears covered up the sun.

The earth sings a song of gladness.

The earth sings a song of praise.

The earth rises up and laughs at me

Each time that I forget

How spring begins with winter

And death begins with birth.