Category: Poems


Hail to the sea

 

The vivid green paws

 

Of the sea

 

Played with the rock cliffs, batted

 

Them like torn twigs,

 

Buffeted in the barking 

 

Winds of the gale,

 

Swatting the pale, 

 

Cardboard king,

 

On the hill, unseating him,

 

Pretender to his mournful, desolate throne

 

Of death,

 

Built of a splintered tree

 

On desecrated lands,

 

Sending him tumbling down

 

In his tinseled crown,

 

Only to take up his beguiling tune again

 

On his fife 

 

And his drum.

 

Soon

 

The wail

 

Of the waves

 

Overwhelms all

 

The spires of existence

 

When

 

They slip

 

Heedless,

 

In dim

 

Strands through darkness

 

Into the abyss.

 

Almost gone the waffling

 

Tip-toed, tall,

 

Top-hatted

 

Arrogance

 

Of the feeble minions

 

In white wigs

 

That used to trip

 

Along after the weak and wobbling

 

Pied piper who, it was said, chains and enslaves 

 

All life,

 

Yet who one day saw

 

Even his fife

 

And his drum

 

Fall

 

Down 

 

Into the green dance.

 

Now he too is gone into the wild, primeval,

 

Laughing hiss

 

Of the waves of the sea,

 

No more to be.

 

Gone by the power of the paws

 

Of the sea,

 

The clamping jaws,

 

The widening maw of the watery, untamed beast 

 

Of the sea,

 

Of the earth,

 

Who rides forth

 

On the mist of the east,

 

From unmapped horizons.

 

Now she is running

 

Ever so swiftly

 

On her bright green paws

 

To take back the night of innocence,

 

Of steep stillness

 

And stars unknown,

 

Born of ancient, bright-winged stone.

 

©Sharon St Joan, 2019

 

Photo credit: Photo of public domain work of art / The Great Wave off Kanagawa / Katsushika Hokusai / Wikipedia

1024px-Corvus_corax_tibetanus

 

Where the essence of the rain echoes

 

The magic beyond time,

 

There, as anyone knows,

 

There is no time.

 

Only the bluebirds that flit quickly

 

From branch to beaded branch; only

 

The far, jasmine-flowered eyes

 

Of the deer that trails beyond the tree;

 

Only the elusive tower

 

In the clouds where that ancient spirit stays

 

To watch and then simply to remain.

 

Only the One who is all,

 

Only the breath of the boat of the moon,

 

In misted shawl,

 

Mother of the silver pathways,

 

That run along the creek-enchanted stones

 

Of greening moss and deepening mystery.

 

Soon,

 

With the fleet

 

Ears of the listening hour,

 

Ever-perceptive,

 

Those black-robed ravens

 

(Who live,

 

Long,

 

In joy, where we do not,

 

In the bitter knocking wind of winter’s bones)

 

Will hear the exultant wail of the coyote,

 

(Who has never been wrong

 

Yet always was held ever, in

 

The bright-leaved essence of the rain)

 

Will hear now, so clearly, the tumbling power

 

Of the dawn over the rain-sung mountains,

 

Where the ringing song

 

Is heard to rise

 

Then wane,

 

Beyond the rock-encircled climb

 

To the fire-striking feet

 

Of Hamsa, the knowing swan

 

And then, anon,

 

Will chime

 

In peace the single mystic gong

 

That folds up the wandering wings of being.

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2019

 

Photo: Pkspks / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.”/ Wikipedia

 

 

 

Phoenix_detail_from_Aberdeen_Bestiary

 

Out of the ashes of the end

 

Arises the Phoenix.

 

Who is this Phoenix

 

Who flies through flashes

 

Of burning embers,

 

Who extends

 

Her black-enchanted wings

 

From the horizon

 

To the wind-streaked high plateau,

 

This one who ever dies,

 

Yet flies

 

Again

 

With golden beak

 

And brown-laked eyes

 

That seek

 

Only those stories, spoken lore,

 

True and raven-wandering?

 

Mountain air gleams;

 

Glittering stars talk

 

And walk,

 

And wend their way

 

Among the hidden crannies of the skies

 

And know

 

Where eagles slip through time’s illusion,

 

Eagles who remember every eon

 

And recall the wisdom

 

Of the glad-winged Hamsa

 

Who hears,

 

Even now, the dawn-invoking, distant drums

 

Of long-gone dreams.

 

After the flames of desecrated towns

 

Leave strange, fossilized soils,

 

After the blanched wicks

 

Of all the candles have been snuffed,

 

And volcanic plumes fluffed

 

Aloft in sobering winds,

 

After the great ending,

 

The air clears

 

Of dim, smoke-laden whiffs.

 

Then Adi Sesha of the thousand, bright-singing,

 

Emerald crowns,

 

Older than all the many worlds before,

 

Older than the trees of time, ever ancient,

 

Floats again

 

On the timeless mist

 

Of eternity,

 

Lifting, on his linked coils,

 

The light form of Narayana,

 

Radiant,

 

Who slumbers,

 

Resting.

 

Then the Phoenix

 

Rises through the amethyst

 

Height,

 

Over the land where lilies still grow

 

In the backwaters

 

Not far from the rainbowed sea,

 

In the rain,

 

In the truth where only

 

The innocent curlews, nesting,

 

Play by the rocky shore

 

On a gray, moon-bent day

 

There the waves crash, exuberant,

 

Against the granite cliffs.

 

 

©Sharon St Joan, 2018

 

Illustration: Phoenix detail from Aberdeen Bestiary, Public Domain, Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nataraja

800px-An_ephemeral_waterfall

 

Their lives are cast in shadows,

 

They who will not see you,

 

You who no one knows,

 

Not hearing your voice in the grass, talking,

 

Or in the pale wintry call

 

Of the tern,

 

Not hearing your voice of ashes,

 

Unaware of your presence in the flames

 

Of the waters that run,

 

That turn over the stones.

 

Still there is only you,

 

No one else anywhere,

 

You who stand behind all;

 

Within all.

 

With only a billion names

 

You are one.

 

In the night soul of the forest, oaken,

 

In the stalking

 

Of the insistent leopard,

 

In the power of the sea, cresting

 

Blue,

 

In the word

 

Of the wind that so long wandered

 

By the bleak

 

Runes.

 

Now there dawns the dancer in the sky overhead,

 

About whom none may speak,

 

And nothing may be said,

 

Not ever spoken.

 

There rise the flames of the names,

 

Unbroken,

 

Standing still by the tall

 

Reeds in the lake of the sun,

 

Hearing your voice in all the rains

 

That ever were,

 

Singing.

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2018

 

Photo: Vince Reinhart/“This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.”/Wikipedia/ Waterfall on the Chagrin River, Ohio

 

 

 

Cover-Vol3-The East

 

By Laura J. Merrill

 

Readers of Sharon St Joan’s blog site, “Echoes in the Mist” (recently changed from “Voices-and-Visions”), will be familiar with her ethereal poems, which have always resonated with me as a view into the sacred soul of Nature.

 

Over the last two years, Sharon has graciously devoted some of her time and creative talent to composing twelve poems for the latest volume of Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees.

 

Volume Three: The East, in which you will find her verses, concerns a few of the trees native to the eastern part of this continent—from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean—some well known and some quite uncommon, and some wholly unique to this continent, although not necessarily familiar to all of us; examples are Sugar maple, American chestnut, Pawpaw and Tulip Tree.

 

These brightly illustrated volumes familiarize us with each tree, utilizing facts about it and its native surroundings, as well as a few particulars about some of the animals and other plants that share its environment. At the same time, each tree is given a chance to “speak for itself,” in a section titled, “Reflections,” in which we can imagine how the tree might see its place in the world and how it may view us, as fellow travelers on the Earth.
In the world of books about nature, these publications are distinctive, blending fact and fantasy for adults who are willing to consider the idea that we are all equal participants in the great work of Creation.

 

You can find this, as well as the first two volumes, The West and Midcontinent, on Amazon at this link.

 

Enjoy!

The Rain

113186375 Michael Chatt : dreamstime.com

 

In a portent of misted beauty

 

The rain-wandering hawk

 

Awakens

 

The sleeping

 

Mother of the mountains

 

To ring the standing

 

Bowls of silence

 

There since

 

Before the wings of time took flight,

 

And in ringing, to empower

 

The wild places;

 

The trees, her children,

 

Blossom gold;

 

Bumblebees run races,

 

The stars sail

 

Their tall wooden ships

 

On the bobbing waves of the black, deep sea.

 

Will the antlered elk remain,

 

Even then,

 

Along with the swift falcon,

 

And the barred geese

 

Who rode so bravely

 

Near the fierce night

 

Of the wrath of the wind

 

And biting hail

 

Where the embattled sky

 

Flashed

 

White, unpinned,

 

And armies of air

 

Clashed

 

From outcrop to rocky hill

 

Echoing

 

Echoing

 

Where the old owl blinks?

 

In the aftermath, gray-gowned, shy

 

Rain beings fly by

 

On blue

 

Petals;

 

The band of geese settles

 

On the lapping lake, recalling

 

All the stone-stepped eons told

 

In the unfolding stories – or a leaf-borne tale

 

By the rocks that talk,

 

Voices of the dark red canyons,

 

Of the grass and plants, wind-whispering

 

Of the juniper-guardians

 

Of the all-knowing bear,

 

Of the small-footed mouse, smiling and meek,

 

And the so determined ants.

 

There the rattlesnake slinks.

 

Now only the wise ones who

 

Know the starry ways, by most forgotten,

 

Who tend the earth, will gather

 

Again,

 

Their songs to sing

 

Like the soaring sea,

 

In the bright land of the moon –

 

Gentle as the rain that drips

 

Among the sleeping flowers

 

Of the stars. Now all is connected in these most final holy

 

Hours

 

As it was before the beginning,

 

One in many,

 

Many in one,

 

And if we train

 

Our attention for a moment,

 

Soon,

 

As the gale is done,

 

We will

 

Find the one we seek

 

Standing by the silver tree,

 

Near the old

 

Railed fence

 

Speckled in sunlight.

 

Hear beyond the rivers’ torrent

 

The chant of Om,

 

The lost bells of home.

 

Thank you, blessed rain.

 

Thank you, Parvathi,

 

Ever there, peace

 

Falling

 

On the star-clad mountain peak.

 

 © Sharon St Joan, 2018

Photo: 113186375 © Michael Chatt / dreamstime.com

Wolf

119453623 © Olga Konstantinova | Dreamstime.com

 

At the far rim of reality

 

Stands the wolf, unknown,

 

Archetype enchanting, ancient spirit,

 

King of his noble kind

 

Who pauses, glancing,

 

Father of the early forest,

 

Alien to the modern world-mind

 

That has been spawned and grown

 

Up from death,

 

From the killing of the magical ones,

 

Hence have arisen

 

All the dank drafts that dally through the restless cage

 

Of hell.

 

Yet the wolf remains

 

Beyond the brittle bell

 

That sounds this bleary

 

Age,

 

Watching,

 

More real than life or death,

 

Than the scurrying days that flit

 

On by like dry falling

 

Leaves

 

Blown

 

Across the desert floor

 

Bare and stark,

 

While the wolf stands still – eternal breath,

 

Blessed being,

 

Beyond the reach of the gray

 

Murmuring minions

 

That practice dark deceit.

 

Yet now their dreary

 

Presence wanes,

 

Soon, gone will they be,

 

There no more,

 

Caught up in the fleet

 

Fires of the ending day,

 

And still the wolf stands,

 

Aloof,

 

Poised to restore his lost domain,

 

Eternal god, under the blue eaves

 

Of the sky, on green woodlands,

 

He who ever was, and is, and is to be,

 

In the tall, sun-winged forest,

 

Ringed all around in rising mist

 

And radiant rains.

 

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2018

 

 

Photo: 119453623 © Olga Konstantinova / Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

dreamstime_xs_122429856

 

Do you know the way

That leads to the stream

In the early morning,

Where spotted fawns

Run,

Letting shining droplets fall

From their silver hooves

Like the last shreds of moonlight,

While the owl in the wild oak

Tree shuts her feathered eyes to sleep

At dawn, opening the door of the dream

To a universe of wonder,

In the star-bespeckled sky?

Or else, maybe you might know the way

To where the bright

Grass bends in the cold north wind

And the bison

Rumble by

On nimble feet

Across the wide, flat

Plain, and there

The wolves

Forever run

To greet

The spiraling snow on a white and wintry day?

Or perhaps you might even know

The way to the deep

Sheltering forest where the bear

Waits out with her cubs the hours

Of the squall,

Of crackling thunder

Near the hillside of peace where wildflowers

Cast in a trance

The bumblebee,

And the clay

By the riverbank holds up the saplings,

While dragonflies flit

And execute their wise dance

Of joy?

You see we were looking for the way out –

Out from the cinders swirling,

Out from the center, come all unpinned,

From the ashes of history gone awry

That prophetic ravens rue,

From the sting

Of bitter smoke,

Out into the clear sun-

Begotten waterfall that

Shimmers all the way

Down on to the rocks

Of granite

On to the foundation blocks

Where all the worlds begin anew?

Where is the way,

Narayana,

You who ever walked as a young boy

On the wandering waves of the eternal sea,

In the star-born mists of all the dawns

That ever were or are to be?

Where is the way,

Narayana,

Where is the way

To find the light of your lands

That sing the song of the soul in the sounding sea?

 

 

©Sharon St Joan, 2018

Photo: ID 122429856© Syberyjczyk/ Dreamstime.com

 

edited,ID 71782566 © Juliscalzi | dreamstime_xs_71782566

 

Garuda,

 

How

 

Do you fly

 

On swift, gold wings,

 

Not having any answers?

 

You live in peace, always, among

 

The saffron petals, beyond the crowded questions

 

Sailing through all the mist-

 

Driven worlds sung

 

By the ancient forest,

 

Abode

 

Of stars and falcons,

 

Near the clear, deep-canyoned waters

 

Where step the blue-toed cranes,

 

Where ran

 

The wind in wild-haired leaves of the cottonwood tree.

 

You are the heart given by eternity.

 

Within, you bear the spirit of God.

 

You are the dawn, the sky

 

That rained,

 

The dream-walking dragonflies that nod,

 

And the speaking of the mountains that rose up and waned

 

Before ever time began,

 

You who carry

 

The sacred essence of all things

 

In the clouds that tarry,

 

In the flashing lights of the moon and the bright summer rains,

 

Garuda, you who are wandering ever, even now,

 

On your wings of wind-swept beauty.

 

 

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2018

 

Photo: Juliscalzi | dreamstime.com

 

 

 

 

 

ID 4545510 © Dbpetersen | Dreamstime

 

Listen, and hear

 

Within the moon the silent flight

 

Of white

 

Crane

 

Feathers,

 

While stars ring like bells in a sky of snow.

 

Did you know

 

That the moon is hollow

 

And it chimes?

 

Now, past clouds of bitter rain,

 

Of weathers

 

Sullen in the jagged wind,

 

At a sharp bend in the long road,

 

Shines the light of butterfilies beyond the shards of the dark,

 

The spark

 

Of grace, as yet unimagined,

 

A hand of tree bark

 

Offers peace, abhaya mudra: “Fear

 

Not,” a message,

 

Seek and ye

 

Shall find

 

All truth

 

Within the call

 

Of the star, cloaked in a misted shawl.

 

Soon, between the bones of yesteryear

 

Rise the rushing waters to the ridge

 

Of ending times.

 

There at the top of the narrow stair

 

Opens the rock-enchanted desert that will echo eternity,

 

Shimmering stones,

 

Who

 

Sing that the shadow

 

Has gone, though it is not that the shadow

 

Has gone, but just that the sun is real and the shadow not, after all,

 

And so

 

The holy one, unknown, will walk again on the straight path,

 

Will hold the innocent deer high in his hand

 

(In the land

 

Of the gold dragon who gnashes

 

Her emerald jaw,

 

Extending her five-toed

 

Paw)

 

There the brave one walks, placing the sun anew,

 

Engulfing the burning cities of the mind,

 

And – casting death at last behind,

 

Cleanses the earth of ashes.

 

 

Poem: © Sharon St Joan, 2017

Photo: © Dbpetersen | Dreamstime