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.

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.