Swan of climbing wings

Photo by Simon Berger on Pexels.com

Swan of climbing wings,

Below

Slips by

The hour of the rhyme of time unraveling.

Raindrops.

Where now will the footsteps of the ancient ones tread?

On the moon – the dark side?

On the mountain height?

The unbecoming,

Unarranging,

Unimagining.

Aloft, Hamsa – you who ride

On the mist, undeterred

Through the red

Pillars of the sunset

Through the cliffs of darkened flight,

Do you see –

Or have you heard

Such a string of mis-imaginings?

And yet

The old one saw the donkeys

On the winding streets of Egypt

Among the catacombs and the crypt.

For a long time,

She rescued them.

Fly now to join the birds in the clouds,

Only the clouds,

Gray over the medieval rooftops

Of the crags above the lost towns.

Crowds

In dusted cities,

The mind gone

Astray,

In disarray,

Betrays

The darkness

And the quiet,

Until only the mighty wings of the sparrow

Understand

The patterns of the falling snow

And go on to a newer, older land,

Found by grace.

Become then the white-crowned sparrow,

Only the sparrow who flies

Toward the face

Of the dawn,

Only the gull who rises, who cries

In gladness,

Over the wintry bay,

Free,

Beyond the misted, ethereal rooftops

Crowned in pointed hats of snow.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Within the snow

Within the snow,

Eternity.

Within the tree-topped circles,

Flocks

Of red-winged blackbirds

Singing silver reeds of song.

Beyond the words,

The clear

Bright

Voice of the moon speaks,

The voice of all that is and might

Have been.

Above the long

Waves of the ever-turning, white-pounding sea,

Seagulls

Seek

Peace.

Rains

Run by the crease

In the page

Of the dusted year.

Beyond the clouds of storms, of bursting rifts of light,

The bitter winds of jagged rocks.

Beyond the thought forms, tumbled, broken,

Remains

The peace of the One

Who is only

There in the deepest mist

Of the great forest

Beyond the many worlds that come and go,

Within the heart of basalt rocks,

Within the soul

Of the jaguar and the tadpole,

The lily and the dandelion,

Within the black night

Of wonder

And the snow

Falling on the juniper

Branches and the flowering gold sage

Of eternity.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Swan of climbing wings

Swan of climbing wings,

Below

Slips by

The hour of the rhyme of time unraveling.

Raindrops.

Where now will

The footsteps of the ancient ones tread?

On the moon – the dark side?

On the mountain height?

Aloft, Hamsa – you who ride

On the mist, undeterred,

Through the red

Pillars of the sunset

Through the cliffs of darkened flight,

Do you see,

Or have you heard

Such a string of mis-imaginings?

And yet

The old one saw the donkeys

On the winding streets of Egypt

Among the catacombs and the crypt.

For a long time,

She rescued them.

Fly now to join the birds in the clouds,

Only the clouds,

Gray,

Over the medieval rooftops

Of the crags above the lost towns.

Crowds in dusted cities,

The mind gone

Astray,

In disarray,

Betrays

The darkness

And the quiet,

Until

Only the mighty wings of the sparrow

Understand

The patterns of the falling snow

And go on to a newer, older land,

Found by grace.

Become then the white crowned sparrow,

Only the sparrow

Who flies

Toward the face of the dawn,

Only the gull who rises, who cries

In gladness

Over the wintry bay,

Free,

Beyond the misted, ethereal rooftops

Crowned

In pointed hats of snow.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas!

green mountain with waterfalls on misty day
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a happy and stress-free day! May we take a moment to be grateful and count the blessings in our lives! May we remember to be kind and to focus our thoughts on light and blessings for the earth and for all her creatures. May all the animals be blessed with peace and well-being, as well as all the plants, the trees, and all the features of the earth – the rivers, the oceans, the forests, the deserts, the rocks, the mountains, and the clouds in the sky. All are expressions of the life of the universe — not inanimate objects, but expressions of cosmic awareness and transcendent beauty, which we too are a part of.

Peace and many blessings,
Sharon

Beyond the gray doorway

snow covered mountain
Photo by Trace Hudson on Pexels.com

Beyond the gray doorway

The snow waits and listens,

While wolves tilt their ears,

Waiting too,

Till voices sing,

Voices of the angels,

Who, some say,

Do not exist,

But who – nonetheless –

Are more real than we, than me;

For they are Your beings,

Dragons of kindness,

Fierce winds of power,

That hold back the tumult of chaos

Til storms still and furies cease,

Til destiny shelves

The stealing shadow

Into the fading abyss

Of nevermore,

Thereby dispelling fear,

Then, while a silent, silver snow

Alights

And slips among the junipers,

Footsteps unseen

Lead the way

Along the jagged cliff face,

That winds on and on to the valley

Of peace,

To a far country,

To Your ever-sacred path,

To Your forest

Of the peepal tree,

Where the magic fawn

Awakens,

Child of enchanted herds,

There

Rise the flowering birds,

Beyond, in flight,

That call

In the dawn,

In the trailing mist

Of lace,

On wings of blue

And green,

With Your voice of light,

Beyond the star-ringed tower,

Clear,

Ascending,

While not so far away,

The waves fall

Against all

The rain-rift standing rocks of the immortal sea.

Written December 17, 2020

© Sharon St Joan, 2020

The bells of Shiva

rainforest during foggy day
Photo by David Riaño Cortés on Pexels.com

Beside the stones,

The rain

Intones 

The song of the evening star;

There lies the derailed car

Of arrogance

Fallen, still

In the hour of reckoning.

Mother of the Rising Light

Not far away,

As they were wont to say,

But near,

As the breath of moonbeams. On the horizon

Of unmarked time, the stray

And wayward galaxy,

By a kind fate,

Has escaped the dreary, dismal chain

Of bondage,

That lurks at the sharp edge

Of being.

Every light,

Every shining.

Here the beginning

And the ending

And the beginning anew;

Here the enduring flame,

The bells of Shiva

That ring long

In the never-ending 

Standing

In cool water where

The summer crane

Slowly goes,

At ease

Among the lilies,

And, on high, the hawk will view 

The Himalayan snows.

Abaya mudra,

Fear not.

Though the wraith

Of this current world feeds only

On lies,

Deception,

And distain,

Across the unwise

Plot

Of terror,

With no faith

And, seeking stolen redemption,

Finds bitter loss.

But look to the spring sleet

Shimmering on the raven’s wing.

See the unseeable, cloaked in mist;

Now how to remember to walk through

The fires 

Of truth and through

The spires

Of nevermore

On feet

Impelled by grace.

Atman

By the fence post of wood

By the boundary

By the old, unpainted gate,

Stood

Waiting.

No time, no space.

You know they covered over

Gobekli Tepe

To prevent a desecration

Of the Holy Light

That never dims,

That is known by no name.

Grace

Of the One,

The Green Heart of the forest, deepening,

The One who spoke earlier,

In the still air,

Or,

In clouds rent

By winds that toss

The tree limbs

Of the dawn that awoke — though not yet.

The silver-sailing moon knows

The primeval bones

That hid

An intent,

Unbidden, but not unwise,

Bones that slumber

In the rustling sighs under the leaves on the floor

Of the grove,

Buried, but not forgotten,

Silent,

Sacred.

And now – after a time, with the passing

Of the sunset

Beyond the darkened road,

Scarred and malevolent,

All is changed, rising,

When the geese 

Fly 

Anew,

Bright-

Winged, here

By the bent

Hill 

Of the green-toed

Mountain of peace,

Sent,

Just there

In the sparkle 

Of the dew

To awaken.

Listen

Hear only the bells of Shiva

In the silence

Beyond the dissonance

Of this world, only the bells of Shiva

Ringing in the ever-drifting rain,

Singing.

Written in the spring of 2020.

© Sharon St Joan, 2020

The raven’s walk

On a half-lit day

Rain-rent

And clouded

The raven sipped the gray

And bitter brew

Of the sacred yew

And walked alone –

Where

No one could tell –

In a country no one knows

His footfall

Made no sound

On the hollowed ground

In mist

Enshrouded

There he went

Until the sun

Tossed her gold net

Of flowers

Around

The crystal goblet

In the cathedral

Of enchanted hours

By the tall forest

And tolled the bell

Of rainbows.

Written around 2003

© Sharon St Joan, 2020

Photo 4888 © Denise Mcquillen | Dreamstime.com

In the forest of tigers

tiger walking on green plants during daytime
Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

In the forest 

Of tigers

Moonlight tumbles across

The enchanted lake.

Death and life pinned

In the tiger’s paws

In her jaws,

In her wide, clawed feet.

The silent

Shadow that can never be understood

Stirred 

In the tree

In the murmuring wood.

Ancient beings walk free

In their domain

Awake

In the pounding rain

Until the sun returns, majestic one,

In the living flowers 

Of the earth,

Or in the thick mist

Clasped by the mountain

In the wind of time.

Yet, 

Even the dissonant 

Dust

Of gray, pedestrian powers

Seeps into the furrow 

Of being

Deluding perception, inflicting loss,

Eclipsing 

Reality 

With soul-bending lies that deny

The great ones,

That bring about death and distrust.

Yet,

In the end,

May the dust be as it is meant to be,

Footfalls of the tiger go 

Undeterred

In the bells of sunset

Until truth turns and the moon rises in another far-off clime

In a brighter, radiant night

In the light

Of Shiva’s trident

In the sky.

By Sharon St Joan

© Sharon St Joan, 2020

Why are wildlife important?

brown goat beside green plants
Photo by Nina Rath on Pexels.com

Well, I can hear you thinking – What a silly question, of course, wildlife are important! They are sentient beings, beautiful animals that have feelings. Of course, they are important.

Most kind people who care about animals would reply this way. As for those who genuinely do not care, we lost them when they saw the title. So, this is for those who do care.

But let’s pause for a moment. Many of us, especially at the moment, are quite overwhelmed. If we are fortunate enough to have a relatively secure situation in life – if we have a job, if we are not lining up for a food bank, if we are not in a state of crisis – we may still either be afraid for the future or in a state of distress at the suffering of our fellow human beings. To some extent this is not new – it is worse now, but it is not new. Life has always had difficult times – for those who have a sick child, or elderly parents, or who are sick themselves – or who are struggling in any of many, many ways. And yes, absolutely, if we have a sick child, the child must come first, and we need to care for the child – or whoever else we may need to care for.

Too busy

Even in the best of times, many of us are just busy – really busy.  We rush here. We rush there, and if we stop rushing, things fall behind and do not get done. So to stay on top of our situation, we need to take care of those immediate, insistent things that require our attention. No one is saying that we shouldn’t do this.

Some of us, perhaps most of us though, do have a little bit of leeway – there are the couple of hours in the evening we spend in front of the TV. There is some time here and some time there. There are days, weeks, months when there is no crisis – when we do have some time.

Priorities

And what are our priorities?  In the past few years, statistically speaking, our priorities have been health care, national security, the economy, maybe climate change, social and racial justice – or stability, depending on how we look at the world. If we are asked if we care about wildlife, we say, yes, of course. But really, that’s not at the top of our list. Overwhelmingly, our concerns are human concerns. We care about ourselves and other people. Now, there’s nothing wrong with caring about other people. It’s a wonderful quality to have. It is essential. There is really in our country a state of vast social and racial injustice, and it is fundamentally important – and this moment in time is, we trust, a profound turning point for change.

symmetrical photography of clouds covered blue sky
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

But, then where are we with wildlife? We care about dogs, cats – sometimes we care about horses, or even elephants and tigers. Somewhere, somehow, the little songbirds, the dragonflies, the coyotes, the squirrels, and the bobcats just do not quite register in our consciousness. And their habitat – without which they cannot survive – even less.

Let me give a couple of examples based on real, factual situations. When there is a water shortage due to lack of rain, and there is a stream – a little stream – and a coal company wants to pollute the waters of the stream just a little bit more than it already does – first, when it appears that this might affect the town’s drinking water, there is huge concern – then, when it is understood, that, no, nobody is talking about drinking water, this would only affect the water way upstream, and any tiny bit of pollution would just be washed away naturally by the rain (forgetting conveniently that there is no rain), without affecting the water downstream (which doesn’t make sense, but nevermind), then, amazingly all concern vanishes – and the same people who were alarmed about their own drinking water, somehow can no long find the time to be interested in this situation. What about the deer, the ring-tailed cats, the badgers, the songbirds who also need to drink? Somehow, they are just not anywhere near the top of our list. They may take our attention for a moment, just a moment – then they are gone from our thoughts.

And what about climate change? For many of us this means our own clean air, our own clean water – it means kids not having asthma (which is absolutely important) – it means developing clean energy so that, whatever the future may bring, we will be able to drive our cars, heat and cool our homes, and live decent, comfortable lives. Yes, these things are important. We’re used to them and we would get frazzled (myself included!) if it were freezing in the winter and boiling hot in the summer. Really, are we giving a single thought to the plight of the birds for whom breathing adequately is even more necessary than it is for us? Have we noticed species after species of songbirds greatly diminished in numbers or gone altogether? Have we noticed that, without rain, there are no butterflies at all? And so few insects that insect-eating birds have nothing to eat? The answer is – no, we haven’t noticed. It’s not because we don’t care. If someone told us, we would care. We just literally haven’t noticed. For the vast majority of us, we simply do not see wildlife. Wildlife just do not appear on our radar screen.

So why does this matter? What difference does it make? And, yes, we don’t want to see wildlife suffer, but really we can’t spend our whole lives worrying about bobcats, let alone butterflies.

Why are wildlife important?

But there is one extremely relevant reason why wildlife are important – not just for their own sake, but for our sake as well – and this is the reason: Wildlife are the children of the earth. They are part of the earth. They may be invisible to us, but they are an essential part of the universe. As children of the earth, they, in a truly meaningful way, are life itself. Yes, we are all children of the earth – but to us as humans this is mostly an abstraction – a truth to be remembered only occasionally, if at all. But a wild being – a deer, a wolf, an eagle – is the earth – is part of the fabric of life. And when we deny life, deny nature, deny existence, and deny the universe, then we will soon be in trouble, just as we are now.  When we alienate ourselves from the natural world – to the extreme extent that we no longer even think about the natural world, not even in passing, then we have climbed to the end of the tree branch, and we are about to saw off the branch on which we are sitting, thereby sending ourselves plummeting down to injury and death – and that is precisely where we are now. We have alienated ourselves from life.

Consequences?

The consequence of we, as the human race, alienating ourselves from life is this: We have become parasites – unthinking, unconscious parasites who are destroying life, and nature – maybe not intentionally, but sometimes just accidentally – unaware, unconcerned. And the only solution that will make the slightest difference, ultimately, is not the Paris climate accords, or the Clean Air Act or clean energy or any number of government meetings and agreements (which are not happening much, but even if they were, they would not reach the root of the problem). The root of the problem is our disassociation, our alienation from nature. This concept is woven into the fabric of western civilization – which is a topic for another time. But this is killing us. Alienation from nature is killing the source of our lives – the earth herself – who we, without even paying attention, have thoughtlessly and unconsciously – abandoned, neglected, ignored, and then slaughtered and destroyed. When we kill the earth, we kill ourselves.

The first thing we can do – is un-alienate ourselves. This may not save the planet. It is quite late for that and, until we can engage others, we are, by ourselves, just one person. Yet still we must start somewhere. We must shine a small light into the darkness. Not by feeling bad – feeling bad accomplishes nothing, but instead by re-connecting with nature. Just simply doing that.

Take a walk in the woods. If there are no woods because you are in a city, then go to a park, sit by a tree. No trees? Then go to a flower shop and smell the flowers. If nothing else, then watch the clouds overhead – watch the sunlight or the rain. Watch a pigeon fly through the air. Be thankful, be grateful, and acknowledge the reality that you and I are not superior beings at all. We are at one with the natural world, with the earth – and this will be a step. The first thing this will do is put us in touch, just a little bit, with the peace of the universe. And the second thing it will do, is create a little wave in the ether – a little life-giving wave that will help someone somewhere – another being – a fish in a river, a tree in a park, another human being – and by becoming part of the resurrection of life – we will have played some small part in renewing the earth – if not in this age, then in the age that is to come – building a bit of a bridge to a world of light.

I know this seems simplistic, and it is not a remedy meant for everyone – if it were, we would all already be doing this, and there would be no problem. But if we are to some extent, in touch with real reality, then this will not be incomprehensible to us. We will remember sometime in our life when we felt in contact with the earth, with a tree or a bird or a sunset, and we will understand that this is the point where we must begin – to be at one, once again, with the web of life that is the earth – that is our life and the life of the universe.

By Sharon St Joan

© Sharon St Joan, 2020

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