The earth is all that lasts – December 2020

From Sacred Fire, 1998, by Nancy Wood


The Earth is all that lasts.

We who have been asleep for years

return to plant seeds in abandoned gardens.

We summon the rain and beg for the sun

to release its energy to our care.


The Earth is all that lasts.

We who were flattened by our inability

to rise above the wreckage of the past

are eating shadows

in order to stay alive.


The Earth is all that lasts.

We who were invisible, except

to those with similar vision,

stand here possessed by our old lives.

We are unwilling to disappear from our origins.

We have replaced shame with serenity,

doubt with desire.

Our skin is bursting with new muscle.

We are one with snowmelt and with Fire.

The Fire of Life – March 2020

From Wild Love, 1996 (unpublished), by Nancy Wood


Without love the world would not last, nor would flowers bloom nor

the sun have a reason to burst between the thighs of night.

The fire of life burns on battlefields

and in the misery of souls struggling for food.  It smolders

even when darkness devours consideration and hatred ravages

the innocence of children.

Love means yes and love means why not

and love means the fire of life,

burning brightly long after the universe ends.

I would like to be a tree – October 2018


From War Cry on a Prayer Feather, 1979, by Nancy Wood


I would like to be a tree

but you would cut me down.

I would like to be a river

but you would build a dam.

I would like to be a bird

but you would poison what I eat.

I would like to be a deer

but you would shoot me for my meat.

I would like to be a fish

but you would catch me in your net.

I would like to be a coyote

but you would want me for my skin.

I would like to be a grizzly bear

but you would kill me because I’m rare.

I would like to be a flower

but you would pick me to take home.

I would like to be what I am.

Is there any hope for that?

Grief’s Companion: War – November 2017

From Shaman’s Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood


The death of children amidst the cross fire of ideas is evil’s

grandest gesture. Not even the loss of love nor a

summer without flowers creates a grief as deep

As the theft of children’s laughter. No horror speaks as loudly

as the final cries of children, who, like birds,

seek to spread their wings even when the sky bleeds

Dead dreams. In these dark moments, the Earth’s great heart


Stops beating. In the void that evil leaves behind, a question

arises: If fools make war on innocence,

then who becomes grief’s companion?


A single shaft of sunlight, falling on a drop of blood. A bird

rising higher than danger. A blade of grass, defiantly green

after fire wipes clean the face of desire. But most of all,

Music created by children’s tears.

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.