I am the soft and silent spring
that well-oiled, whispers while it winds;
I am the scent of somber smoke
that wisps its wild way through the wood;
I am the gentle grasp of green
that in the spring succors the seed;
I am the tacit, tender touch
that germinates the garden grains.
I am the mist that mires the marsh,
the cloud that cloaks the clearing’s clover,
the wistful wind that wets the wheat
with drops of dew at new day’s dawning.
What good a world not filled with wonder?
What need this wandering without ways?
What use a wild that wants no wander?
6 FEB 2017
Listen in the dark, and follow
where my voice leads on, away,
through the woods beyond the hollow
where the cheerful sparrows play
on into the mist that thickens
where the Spanish moss hangs low
on the spreading live oak branches
as we pass, silent, below.
Here the sun makes no impression,
for the canopy is thick;
mossy roots criss-cross the pathway,
mute our footsteps; here, the trick
is to remember without seeing,
gauge by sense of smell and touch,
so that if you feel like fleeing,
you cannot reveal too much.
Listen, can you hear the whisper
of the almost stagnant breeze,
like the faintly fading flicker
of a hair bent on your knee?
Your own breathing now is heavy,
louder than the crunch of leaves,
than the slow lap of the levee
echoing the distant seas.
Listen in the dark, and follow
where my voice is almost gone;
feel your face find the cool hollow
in the air it lingers on.
Listen for the fading footsteps
that leave no trace on the ground,
only soft and silent shadows,
memories lost to sylvan sound.
23 JUL 2005
I chose to walk a path of wildness;
though these modern city streets are paved
and seem to revel in a blindness
that believes the urban sprawl has saved
us from what nature could remind us:
somewhere beneath all this black and gray,
behind the masks that progress may wear
as it fumbles through lines of a play
it has not written, and does not care
to find meaning in what those words say,
there is an rough edge to our control.
Beyond that border the feral earth,
that patient presses diamonds from coal,
in each single instant gives birth
to the strange chaos that feeds our souls.
Where the sidewalk ends and turns to vine
is never clearly marked on a chart;
and your map is not the same as mine,
even if we would pretend to start
from the same place at an exact time.
What’s more, both paths may appear the same
(if anyone still took time to look)
and like gods often bearing false names
to confuse those who insist on books,
will merge at times; they are not to blame.
Instead, it is our pride that deceives;
we do not seek to balance, but rule,
and as a despot king we believe
our road divine, and others for fools
unfit to share the glory we perceive.
But it is there; the wildness can’t be tamed,
nor trimmed and manicured for too long
before it tires of such polite games
and flexes its muscles, lean and strong,
to escape the gilded picture frame.
I would go after, where it now stalks
amidst the dark, thickened underbrush;
sometimes just at dawn I hear it walk
right under my open window. Hush!
Can you hear it too? It likes my block.
18 FEB 2005