life between the pages

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”
Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

Monday, May 30, 2005

ANSWER IN THE WOOD

This cool green wood that silent waits
guarded, watchful
catching the last clear rays of light
with upturned boughs of verdant trees
before the mist rises to veil the calm-laden valley
It softens the heat, lightens the gloom of evening, and
for brief silver seconds the world seems to shimmer, not really there,
but an intangible thing;
Solid wood and vast stretch of fern-blanketed earth
seems momentarily fragile,
on the verge of being swallowed up by night.
Here is where I played,
I stood in the shadows and watched--
my mind alive,
hearing finely tuned,
straining to catch the essence of the wooded green
in the treasure chest of my imagination.
I could not hold it for more than a moment,
the vibrant pitch of waiting, growing greenery
would filter through when all was silent,
and as quickly, was lost, when I turned away and
answered the call of the outside world.

I must return to the wood,
go back and walk those paths
along which I ran as a child
when I was too busy chasing dreams
to gather in the wonder that lay about me.
To examine bark, and leaf, and twig,
touching needle-strewn beds of moss,
gazing intently at the pattern of life within
each tiny sprout and curling lichen
Something rests here, which helped me
to make peace with my world,
and I need to find that, to once more make it a part of me
the young part, the growing, wondering, reflecting part,
the part of me which accepts,
and believes in the future,
and grows wiser, knowing.

Image copyright 2005 by Susannah B. Smith

As the wood, we grow tall, stretching forth our branches,
we answer the call of the whippoorwill,
our voices teasing, beckoning,
wanting deep within our hearts to mate,
but always holding something back, something vast,
precious, and green...
...answer, tell, pray, answer, look, tell, answer, answer, tell:
Believe, said the spirit, and isn't it a shame that the
legend is such that the magician had to die before he could
communicate to his wife that one small intelligence?
that love surpasses even Death?

We should know this, and trust in it, and go on,
wiser,
knowing.
What is it that we do not acknowledge?
I think that deeper than Fear, it is our Want,
our need of soulful replenishment
our craving of a concrete essence to re-affirm our own choices,
our own decisions.
Laughing, we mate, we do not think that a lifetime will be so long
to share with another.
Laughing, we were wrong.
So misguided.
We are lost, after a time. Life itself eludes us, we look upon one another as at the door of death itself, and recoil –
aghast, shivering, disgusted.
Depleted, indifferent, yet still tightly nursing the flame of want within our own being.
And so we return to the wood, we look at every tree and branch,
and slowly, we understand.
We grow old, we wither, we die, but
though individually the trees of the wood do just that, the forest remains.
Whole. Vital. Alive.
With every death, a new seed sprouts forth,
to feed upon the old.
Either within the wood, or just outside of it.
Love doesn't die; the men and women do,
so says old Will in the midst of rising waters and thrashing wild palms;
and so right he was.
Love doesn’t die, it outlives us all.
We can hold nothing fast to us
when we are constantly changing, evolving, growing
into someone else ourselves.
The very limbs we use to clasp will wither away to dust,
and grow again, as flowers, new fronds of sun-kissed willow,
and the tiniest of earth-bound leaves.
So. Like the seeds of larch, oak and pine,
we too reach out to grow new roots,
and embrace the Death when we can do no more,
draw from it, extract its nourishment
adding strength to the stand from within ourselves,
expanding our very breadth,
breathing life into death
with new seeds to sow,
ideas and sustenance that we’ve brought in
on winds aloft, from far away.
---Susannah


Note: This is an old version of a poem. Posted in honor of National Poetry Month.

1 comment:

Bill said...

It is lovely of course... of course.