In the distance of my years – May 2019

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.

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.

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.

My people are a multitude of one – January 2018

From Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood

 

My people are a multitude of one.

Many voices are within them.

Many lives they have lived as various Beings.

They could have been a bear, a lion, an eagle or even

A rock, a river or a tree.

Who knows?

All of these Beings are within them.

They can use them any time they want.

On some days it is good to be a tree

Looking out in all directions at once.

On some days it is better to be a rock

Saying nothing and blind to everything.

On some days the only thing to do is

To fight fiercely like a lion.

Then, too, there are reasons for being an eagle.

When life becomes too hard here

My people can fly away and see

How small the earth really is.

Then they can laugh and come back home again.

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.