From Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood
In the distance of my years I cover myself with time
Like a blanket which enfolds me with the layers of my life.
What can I tell you except that I have gone
nowhere and everywhere?
What can I tell you except that I have not begun
my journey now that it is through?
All that I ever was and am yet to be
lies within me now this way.
There is the Young Boy in me traveling east
With the Eagle which taught me to see far and wide.
The Eagle took his distance and said,
There is a Time for Rising Above
So that you do not think
Your small world too important.
There is a time for turning your vision toward the sky.
There is the Young Girl in me traveling west
With the Bear which taught me to look inside.
The Bear stood by himself and said,
There is a Time for Being Alone
So that you do not take on
The appearance of your friends.
There is a time for being at home with yourself.
There is the Old Man in me traveling north
With the Buffalo which taught me wisdom.
The Buffalo disappeared and said,
There is a Time for Believing Nothing
So that you do not speak
What you have already heard.
There is a Time for Keeping Quiet.
There is the Old Woman in me traveling south
With the Mouse which taught me my limitations.
The Mouse lay close to the ground and said,
There is a Time for Taking Comfort in Small Things
So that you do not feel
Forgotten in the night.
There is a Time for enjoying the Worm.
That is the way it was.
That is the way it shall continue
With the Eagle and the Bear
With the Buffalo and the Mouse
In all directions joined with me
To form the circle of my life.
I am an Eagle.
The small world laughs at my deeds.
But the great sky keeps to itself
My thoughts of immortality.
I am a Bear.
In my solitude I resemble the wind.
I blow the clouds together
So they form images of my friends.
I am a Buffalo.
My voice echoes inside my mouth.
All that I have learned of life
I share with the smoke of my fire.
I am a Mouse.
My life is beneath my nose.
Each time that I journey toward the horizon
I find a hole instead.