Do you see the wind?

eagle in flight
Photo by David Dibert on Pexels.com

The sage brush nods her head

In deference to the sun —

Quite —

Juniper branches wave,

Exultant.

Tiny, brave

Plants rustle in delight.

Did the flock

Of goats startle at the ringing

Of the bells of dawn?

The bald eagle,

With downbent beak,

The first of the season

To return,

Sails — her white head held

High,

Sky queen,

Jubilant,

The stars all gone.

Ravens call

Sparkling black in the air

At the spare

Skeleton

Of an eon past – or maybe yet to be.

An urn

Cools in the quick-running stream.

While, off the coast below,

The gill

Of the fish, finned,

Shines in the magic of the rolling sea

Waves fall

And gleam,

Snow-

Tipped in the path of the fierce wind dragon

While Meenakshi looks on

From the shore,

Sea-shelled.

Fish-eyed Meenakshi

Who danced long ago in the sea

With blue dolphins —

She came ashore

Then from the wandering sea

By the coconut palms, in the wind-deep roar,

Whose fronds bend and bow.

No.

No one sees the wind now.

No one has ever seen

The wind,

Yet the wind is there,

All around, everywhere

The living spirit who enlivens

The earth, who brings a confidant

Day; Vayu – God of the wind,

Just as the Holy One,

Who is never seen at all

Anywhere,

Nor ever heard to speak,

Except in the echoing thunder,

Yet, with nothing said,

Gives

Breath to all that lives,

Including the tall

Red

Rock –

Ancient pillars standing,

Mountains,

The strong frame of the earth, awake

By the lake

Of wonder,

Of bumblebees and lilies,

Under the moon

And the sun,

And the eagle’s wing,

In the wind,

In the wind

That runs soon

Through the open door

In the rain-blown rock.

***

By Sharon St Joan, November 2021

© Copyright, Sharon St Joan, 2021

The book Mystic Universe by Ashish Dalela

rocky cliff above rippling water
Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

In his very fascinating (though just a bit incomprehensible) book, Mystic Universe, Ashish Dalela outlines many very intriguing concepts. I actually really love books that are incomprehensible, so that’s not meant as a criticism – and the reason the book is quite challenging to understand is very simply that a lot of it is written from the perspective of ancient Vedic knowledge, which really isn’t easy to convey in modern, western terms we might be used to.

Sometimes understanding requires that we hop into a different time and space – a different world — and that’s not always easy to do. A world that may be truer, but that we are not familiar with.

One thought that I found quite profound is his idea about the globe and what is shown on it.  When we look at a globe of the world and turn it round and round, we see continents and countries, like the United States, India, Kenya, Ecuador, the UK, Italy, Slovenia, Thailand – all kinds of countries and their capitals and major cities – all important places where people live.  Well, that’s okay, but that isn’t the real globe as it really is.

The real earth is quite different and what it actually shows, in reality, is forests, rivers, oceans, mountains, deserts, lakes, plateaus, plains, and meadows. If we were to show the real earth as it really is, on every globe, then perhaps we could get our priorities straight and stop putting all that is human first – and all that is of the world of nature pretty much out of the picture altogether.

It is a fascinating concept. Of course, being human, our first thought is to think that is quite a silly idea; we feel we really do need to know where Los Angeles or Nairobi or London is – and we really do need to see a road or a flight path that will take us there. But maybe, after all, it might just be more important to see the location of the last forests on earth or the majestic mountains or the seas where the great whales swim – and then we might have a deeper understanding of where we really live – and less of an impetus to destroy the planet and more of a wish to feel a sense of love and reverence for Mother Earth.

Ashish Dalela has written many books – all fascinating. This one is Mystic Universe, An Introduction to Vedic Cosmology. It’s available on Amazon.

By Sharon St Joan

© Copyright, Sharon St Joan, 2021

Saraswathi remembers

white swans on river
Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

On her swan-ringed island

Of mist and falling petals

Of song, Saraswathi stands

Holding the wild scent

Of the lilies of eternity

In her silver hand,

Her fingers braiding bright

Visions

Of the dawn-lit past

Of myth-hatched eons

Long ago

Singed in the flames

Of endings

Half-forgotten though,

Their names,

In the days that followed after

Of snow

And white-

Drifting mountains.

On the lapping lake

Pairs of swans sail

And shake

The water from their wings

Their white and gray cygnets trail

Behind

All in a row

Bobbing on the ruffled waves.

Up on the granite cliff

In the rock-cut caves

In tall

Jars

Of stone

Are ranged the rolls of palm leaf scrolls

That caught the words

Of poems flown

The whispering of languages, long gone,

That went on the wandering wind,

On the wings of the waters

The sacred song, the notes of forest birds

The sounds, the syllables, the brush strokes,

The ring of the chisel-hafted hieroglyph,

The eloquence of flowers,

All kept with care

From the child’s fist-drawn scribbles

To the holy vedas of the rishis,

Seers from the stars

All kept, with none slipped into the abyss

None swept aside

There

Are bundled reams

Of cotton

Cloth in all the colors of creation:

The pale-footed hue

Of the mourning dove and her mate,

The nestled orange feathers

Of the northern flicker,

The banded tail

Of the sharp-shinned

Hawk,

Shades of the stout

Trunks of the ficus

And the teak

The red glint

Of the setting sun

Across the pebbled upland creek

The blue

Tint

Of the lotus

And the silver halo

Of the moon that beams

Through the indigo

Ocean of the swift-sailing night

All abide,

Their essence

To ride along the clouds

Of each new dawn

That sings

On the shining cosmic

Tide

Every delight

Of the dance

Of the caterpillar

On the rain-bent

Amarillis.

In the sacred annals

Of her book-filled jars

All knowledge, beauty

And infinity

All that is real

Nothing lost.

And now the swans fly

Higher

In the air

Of crystal frost

Among the green enchanted lands.

Within her magic

Translucent jars

The least stir

Is known

Of every creature

The leaping gray-pawed squirrels

The rooting snout

Of the bristle-faced, brave boar

Then too, remembered is the way

To skip

Among the stars

Or how to weave a shimmering cloak

Or fabricate

A flying ship

Or stoke

An immortal fire

Against the bane-crossed

Cold

Or travel fast

Like racing light

The path to take

To a wondrous land

Of fairies, elves, and heroes bold,

The remedy for every ill

How to ply

The sea

Of time to find the age of gold

Hidden on a cliff-faced shore

And how to make

One’s way to the deepening core

Of the moss-footed forest

In an elvan autumn,

All knowledge past

And yet to be.

Where now the kind

Laughter

Of Saraswathi?

Where the haunting notes

Of the veena?

And the light

Beat of the mringdam?

Where the bells that peel

At dawn?

Where the peace

In the mourning call

Of the swans and the flocking geese?

And where the soft bleating of the goats

Clambering up the rock-strewn hill?

All wait,

Wild and free,

Still

In the luminous blue jars

Of the drifting sky

All that shines true

One day

To be born anew

When the mist settles,

With the glad-crying swans of sunrise,

Over the mountains

Of a far country.

Written around 2010

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Soon

brown and white mice
Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

Nearly gone now,

The paltry gods of arrogance,

Their feet fallen

Down the darkened slips of nevermore.

Now soon

At last (as long, so long, before)

In the crystal hour of reckoning

The petals of the sky will open and unfold

Many a shimmering ring

Of blue mist, where the sun catches

Strands of dawn, while the gold dragon stretches,

Uncoiling flaming scales.

Then winged deer will fly again on the crest of the rainbow;

The hawk will circle cliff-towers

In the high winds of freedom;

Grass will laugh in the rainshowers; 

Forests will sing

The mysteries of sun and snow

The pines and the rocks will recall fleetfooted tales

Of fairyfolk.  Then the earth will awaken

Into a radiance

Of wildflowers,

And the mouse will remember all the wisdom

Of silver moons that waxed and waned,

Of dew-bright meadows now, at last, regained.

Written around 1996

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

No

animal big fur zoo
Photo by Jiří Mikoláš on Pexels.com

No space,

Nor time,

No distance,

No night, nor day,

Nowhere,

Only the bobcat who strays

Across the high slanted

Bridge

Of rock, buried in snow,

Overlooking the deep fog lake

Below.

No dance

In the white air,

Lingering, a single chime

Of the Tibetan bell.

Why

Not take

Time

To stay

A while,

Footsteps of grace,

Glimmering eyes

That do not smile.

The moon calling from far across the haunted ridge,

Enchanted

Spell,

Cast in the window,

Through the wise

Year of fire-glow,

Of softly growing snow.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Arunachala

In the state of Tamil Nadu, in the south of India, stands a mountain covered in rocks, called Arunachala. It is four and a quarter hours southwest of Madras (Chennai), in the Eastern Ghats. A very sacred mountain, Arunachala is considered to be Lord Shiva Himself, not just his abode, but the God Himself.

The great Saint Ramana Maharshi, during a visionary experience at the age of 16, went to live there. He never left and spent his life at Arunachala, visited over time by many thousands of devotees. He was very fond of animals. Today, as well as his own grave, there are the graves of several of his favorite animals; including a cow named Lakshmi and a raven that he had rescued.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Photo: Sakthiprasanna

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

To discover more about India, visit http://forestvoicesofindia.com   

To stay in touch, please sign up for the free newsletter. We look forward to hearing from you.

A Tree

green tree below white sky
Photo by mirsad mujanovic on Pexels.com

Trees are aware of the rain – a gentle rain, filling the air with moisture – rain like silver footsteps tiptoeing on the leaves of the cottonwood tree. But that is rather poetic. “Poetic”, however, does not mean “untrue”. On the contrary, poetry and myth are the truest truths –  far more true than mere physical reality  (which only describes a small part of what is – and so is woefully incomplete).

The truth of the tree is extreme sensitivity to and awareness of the sound of the rumbling distant thunder, of the fragrance of the wet flower petals – of the gentle happiness of the forest in the falling raindrops. Truth is the tree’s awareness. A poem.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

An ancient view

scenic view of mountain
Photo by Philip Ackermann on Pexels.com

To ancient peoples, the world of nature was not made up of inanimate beings – or of beings less than ourselves.

Everything was alive and had a spirit and a presence.

The mountains were gods, the rivers goddesses.

The lakes, the oceans, the trees, the deserts, the forests – everything was living and conscious.  Also, all the beings of the sky were alive – the sun, the planets, the moon, all the stars.

Life was present in every aspect of the universe. The sacred rocks were living entities.

All the animals – the fish, the whales, the bears, the lions, foxes, deer, all the birds, also the ants, the bees, the butterflies and all the insects.

We can see this perception still in the older (and wiser) belief systems of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Taoism, in the world views of Native Americans.

Because ancient peoples saw and understood the spiritual essence of all of nature, there was reverence and respect for nature. Human beings took only what they needed for survival – and nothing more.  They were respectful and not greedy. They listened to the voices and to the laws of nature. They were aware of the sacred beings of life. Because of this awareness, they did not destroy the planet earth.

Today, though we consider ourselves, in the modern world, to be much wiser, we are in fact, very ignorant. We see nature through blind eyes, not recognizing the living essence, the majesty, and the awareness of nature and the earth herself.

It is through this blindness and stupidity, that we destroy nature – through greed and oblivion.

No amount of calculating carbon footprints in a futile effort to save ourselves is going to work.

We must focus, not on ourselves, but on the ineffable beauty and life of nature herself.

To put it simply, we must go back to worshipping nature – to feeling a sense of reverence for the earth.  We belong to the earth. It is only by returning to that sense of the sacred that we will be able to save the earth – and perhaps ourselves as well.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Red cliffs

grand canyon during golden hour
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Within the red cliffs

Walk the feet of Shiva

Through the eternities of endless eons

In the sacred smoke of the kiva

Snow-

Flakes falling

Within the perceptive

Eyes

Of the pygmy owl,

Reflecting skies

Where green dragons

Sail over the seas and all the caves

Long gone,

Waves

Washing up along the coast

Where still,

Knives

Gleam

Of thieves

Hiding in the dark,

Ninja lives,

Deceptive

Whiffs –

A spark

Of whispered words,

Clever,

Sly eyes smile.

There is the space

Where

The rainbows

Rest

A while

Before the startling storms that howl

Before the white-throated swift’s nest

High up in the rock

Gathers up the errant wings – lost almost.

All the hills become

Encircled in weaves

Of patterns within the mist

Of gray stone.

Within the rain ahead

Flocks

Of night

Rain, loud,

Bold,

That never cease,

Unerring

In their treks of flight,

Within the black armies of the castled kingdoms,

War drums

Of the cloud.

All is here now,

The bow

Of the lone,

Ghost

Ship cuts across the furrow,

And all falls

Suddenly quiet.

Torrents cease.

Winds let go.

All returns

To within the peace

Of cliffs deep red

As the autumn

Moon

In the forgotten dimensions

Of forever. Soon

Will the wild paws

Of the forest

Lions,

Tiptoe

Again, with grace

In the clear singing of the dawn

With the moon-

Enchanting meadows

Gone,

Now turned to gold,

Held in the entrancing feathers of the sun,

While rags of clouds stream

Onward to the dance.

September 10, 2021

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Where now is the mist-ringed bell

green trees on mountain
Photo by Jenny Uhling on Pexels.com

Where now is the mist-ringed bell

That tolls over the wandering wave

Of the gray

River?

The moon a sliver

In the sky?

Who can tell?

Where now the branches of the nagalingam tree that sway

And brush along the cool earthen banks,

Home of shy,

Determined snails,

Before the dawn of being,

Long before the chaos

Of disrepair

Grumbled through the dark hall

Of the subterranean cave.

Where now is the brave, ascending song

Of the gold-eyed buffalo burr,

Who clung to the canyon wall,

In the fierce, railing wind,

Her petals beaming in the sun,

The one

Proclaiming victory for the day,

Where now the call

Of the giant whales

Who dive beneath

The cliff rising from

The moving waters of infinity

In the indigo

Deeps

Of joy – whales who play

With their children, ocean games

In the seaweed-flowing mystery

Of their sparkling blue sea –

Where now the curious

Goat who leaps

Among the white patches of winter snow

Along the steep

Hill of the cedarbreak?

Where now the songs

From the ranks

Of all the charming, twisted juniper trees,

Their bark that curls around like smoke,

Whose wisdom

Belongs

To the light,

The moonrise,

And the night,

Who spoke

In the ever-whistling wind,

But then were felled by a cold-axed blow

Of barbarity and lies.

All their songs are fled away

To the far, far mountains of freedom

Where they echo,

Echo,

Gone

To the long

Hills,

Where God always sings

In the wandering dawn,

Waiting for the tumult and the chaos

To have ceased

On the ending day

When flames

That have hissed high

At long last fade,

Scattered away

On the winds,

Lost in the trills

Of birdsong

And the swarm

Of the bumblebee.

Then, in a world that has glided out of the gray mist,

The heart of the wild geese

Will sound once again,

Free,

As the flight

Of the numinous

Rose-winged beauty

Of the dragonflies

Along the lilting, frog-enchanted lake,

Humming.

Hear now the wings,

The presence

Of all the beings,

Released –

Watched over by the bright,

Night-shimmering form

Of Hamsa, the swan who flies

Over the green forest

Of yore,

Reawakened by her

All-knowing essence,

Beginning anew,

In a magic country,

The land of evermore,

Eternal, true

And ever-now,

In the mystical hour of the gray dawn.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021