Looking at Mountains – August 2019

From Dancing Moons, 1995, by Nancy Wood

 

Mountains that are looked at have a particular grace,

some are rounded and gentle, others have a wildness

of spirit, the sharp rock face of invincibility.

Still others beckon with deceptive calm, luring the unwary

with their raw beauty, heads buried in clouds, sunlight

dancing on meadows like sky fingers. The great rock god

Of the mountains sleeps with one eye open to catch eagles

and elk, wind and rainbows, the strong of limb who climb

those peaks because a mountain lives inside them.

 

Mountains that are looked at look back with the pleasure

of old women locked in the gaze of new admirers,

so glad for attention, so wary of strangers. Mountains

That are looked at increase in beauty from so much looking

and live on in memory long after we are gone from them,

remembering the hint of immortality there and the way

We were possessed by rock. Mountains that are looked at

look back with authority and the promise of tomorrow,

which is why some people die for them.

When I feel the world’s harsh breath – June 2019

FromĀ Many Winters, 1974, by Nancy Wood

 

What can I do when I feel the world’s harsh breath and know

That if I stay too long in its path

My path shall be burned up also.

I must go back to the land again

And find the eagle at home with the rock.

I must climb to the mountaintop

And find the spot where the river begins.

I must lie quietly beside the earth

And find the warmth of its heart.

I must turn my vision to the sky

And find the purpose of clouds.

Then trouble seems far away

And the breath which consumes all beauty

Has passed right over me.

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.

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?

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.