Poetry inspires our imagination and gives words to
our most intimate experiences with nature,
thereby deepening our connection to those experiences.
Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
Entering the Forest
Sooner or later, we have to do this.
Walk into the dark tangle
Of our growth. Trace the footmarks
overgrown now with moss.
Honor the losses and start digging.
Stories buried inside old bones
beg telling. Gnaw at the marrow and
be nourished. Let the Crone speak.
She will pick those bones clean
and place them in a sweetgrass basket.
Take what she gives. Under cathedral
trees, make your own altar. Give blessings.
Look up, then down. You see
white stones, white bones
fresh grass and a snail
inching toward you saying,
You are almost among us,
stand still, grow roots.
To Look at Any Thing
To look at any thing,
If you would know that thing,
You must look at it long:
To look at this green and say,
"I have seen spring in these
Woods," will not do - you must
Be the thing you see:
You must be the dark snakes of
Stems and ferny plumes of leaves,
You must enter in
To the small silences between
You must take your time
And touch the very peace
They issue from.
~ John Moffitt ~
There is a new sound
of roaring voices
in the deep
rushes in the heavens.
The mountains are coming alive,
the fire-kindled mountains,
moving again to reshape the earth.
It is we sleeping women,
waking up in a darkened world,
cutting the chains from off our bodies
with our teeth, stretching our lives
over the slow earth—
Seeing, moving, breathing in
the vigor that commands us
to make all things new.
It has been said that while the women sleep,
the earth shall sleep—
But listen! We are waking up and rising,
and soon our sisters will know their strength.
The earth-moving day is here.
We women wake to move in fire.
The earth shall be remade.
~ Alla Renée Bozarth ~Womanpriest: A Personal Odyssey, first edition Paulist Press 1978; revised edition Luramedia 1988, distributed by Alla Bozarth at Wisdom House; and Stars in Your Bones: Emerging Signposts on Our Spiritual Journeys by Alla Bozarth, Julia Barkley and Terri Hawthorne, North star Press of St. Cloud 1990. For permission to reprint, or to order Womanpriest, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and type "permission to reprint" or "order book" in the subject line.
At Start of Spring
At start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise;
have been inattentive to wonders;
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.