Category: the Americas


 

 

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By Sharon St Joan

 

Sacred lands. Where has the concept of the sacred gone? Indeed this may be the key question to understanding our alienation from nature.

 

All over the world, tribal people and people who have not lost touch with the natural world have an enduring concept of animals, plants, the mountains, and the stars being sacred – respected, revered, and worshipped. It is only “modern” man – often “western” man — that objectifies nature, treating the earth with condescension and disrespect.

 

The consequences of this alienation from the earth are a profound malaise at the center of our being – as we rampantly destroy the forests, the wild species, polluting rivers and oceans, and hurtling pell-mell towards climate change run amok.

 

Meanwhile, we wonder why our western society is ill – crime waves, opioid epidemics, suicide, divorce, fragmentation of families, mental illness, racial injustice, warfare, and a profound fear and deep-seated unrest that afflicts a large part of the population.

 

To see a difference in cultural perspectives, we’ve only to look to North Dakota, at the Standing Rock Sioux – thousands of brave people over several months protesting the plan to run an oil pipeline under a river which would risk contaminating the water. Hundreds of tribal people are standing their ground; some have traveled there from all over the world. They talk about their sacred land, that water is life. Law enforcement chases them with dogs, sprays pepper spray into their eyes, and runs trucks across their burial sites. They talk about their treaty signed by the U.S. Government, which everyone ignores. Only the oil companies’ view of the law prevails, and Native American sacred lands and the water that is sacred to them, and has been for thousands of years, carry no weight within the law – no standing or recognition. The only law recognized is that of their conquerors, who took their land away generations ago.

 

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To Native Americans, water is life, and the mountains, rivers, and the earth are sacred too. The lay of the land on which they live is also sacred. In the southwestern U.S., to the Hopi and Navajo people, four sacred mountains encircle their lands, framing the sacred center in the middle. This is the area where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet, known as the Four Corners region. These mountains are Mount Blanca in Colorado, Mount Taylor in New Mexico, the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona, and Mount Hesperus Dibe Nitsaa in Colorado. From a great distance driving through the desert, one can glimpse the San Francisco peaks, covered in snow, mist-encircled, looking just like a high place where spirits surely live.

 

Animals are sacred to Native Americans as well. The word coyote comes from the Aztec word “coyotl.” The coyote is generally a trickster God – intelligent, resourceful, a magical creature who is sometimes helpful to human beings.

 

Another trickster God is the raven, worshipped as the maker of light, the being who existed before the beginning of time and created the world. The raven is also credited with creating the stars, the moon, rivers, and the sun.

 

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On the other side of the earth, in India, the oldest book in the world, the Rig Veda, depicts the forces of nature as powerful living entities, as Gods. (Even today, we can see faint shadows of this belief, as when hurricanes are given human names.) To the ancient rishis who wrote the hymns of the Rig Veda, Agni is fire, Vayu is the wind. Indra, leader of the Gods, is the Lord of storms and lightning. Varuna is Lord of the oceans and the universe. Aditi is the original Mother, the boundless one of the heavens. Throughout the long history of Hinduism (at least 5,000 years, maybe 10,000), there are millions of Gods, yet they are all One. Every being has a soul, and the soul of every being is the same soul, the underlying ground of reality, the spirit of the universe.

 

The sun is Surya, the moon is Chandra. The universe is filled with life, and nature is sacred. Life is based on reverence and worship, on fulfilling one’s duty.

 

This worldview is in many ways the opposite of the western way of seeing things, where individuality is exalted, and the individual reigns supreme. In our culture nature is objectified – it is to be used and consumed. Its existence is deemed inferior to our own. Signs at the entrance to public lands run by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management proclaim that these are “lands of many uses.” This phrase, which sounds benign, in fact means that the land is a resource to be used by human beings.

 

To be continued in part two…

To read part two, click here.

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2016.

 

Top photo: Sharon St Joan / Zion National Park.

 

Second photo: Tyler finvoid / Wikipedia / Public Domain / The San Francisco Peaks.

 

Third photo: Bharat Mudgal / Wikipedia /Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic / A Hindu fire ritual.

 

 

Coyote

 

© Dhprophotog | Dreamstime.comdreamstime_s_40757480

 

Coyote, with mystical toes,

 

Silent as the footsteps of time,

 

Weaving through the mist-encircled forest,

 

Elusive she goes,

 

Shaman, angel, fey,

 

Spirit from the lands afar,

 

Outcaste, magic-bent,

 

Otherworldly guide,

 

You step from stone to stone,

 

Through the stream, moon-bright,

 

Where blue-singing

 

Fish glide

 

Through petals whispering in the night.

 

From milky way,

 

From star to star,

 

Among the clouds,

 

The shrouds,

 

Of worlds, broken.

 

You walk on,

 

Nose-intent,

 

From the darkness to the light.

 

You climb

 

The hillside

 

Where rocks ponder and raven-spoken

 

Rains ride

 

On moon-painted winds among the echoing

 

Songs of spring.

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2016

 

Photo: © Dhprophotog | Dreamstime.com

 

 

© Weblogiq | Dreamstime.com

 

Where do the wind beings live?

 

Beyond the noon-

 

Bright country,

 

Beyond the stars, glimmering,

 

Beyond the tired, trafficked city,

 

Unencumbered, they live in the mountains that give

 

Peace, among the lilies of eternity,

 

By the wandering white petals of the moon

 

In the forest of flowers where

 

Only the wild ones talk

 

And where the wind beings walk

 

By the shell-encrusted shore,

 

There the red-tailed hawk

 

And the northern harrier,

 

Gray as the sea,

 

Fly through the air,

 

To reclaim their destiny,

 

In lands swept clean of the paltry ploy

 

Of thought,

 

And the detritus of crumpled litter

 

Of the corrupted that crawl

 

In the grime

 

Of the sound-dinned

 

Corners of the mind, strangely-wrought.

 

Arise, Hanuman,

 

Son of the wind,

 

To toss

 

Aside all the devils of time,

 

To unseat the wicked, wailing,

 

To thunder

 

Across

 

The waves, ever-crashing

 

Of the sparkling, emerald sea

 

Of nevermore,

 

To lead all soon

 

Back to where the wind beings live

 

In joy,

 

Among the rain-blackened rocks where

 

Only ever call

 

The dark ravens of light, sea-echoing.

 

 

Written June 12, 2016, © Sharon St Joan

 

Photo: © Weblogiq | Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

 

Restoring Mexican Wolves to

Life Interrupted

Suzanne Cordrey

Suzanne Cordrey

 

Reflections on relating to the major flood the past spring in Wimberley, Texas – Editor

 

By Suzanne Cordrey

 

I spun around and blinked the rain out of my eyes. It was pitch black and 1:30 in the morning. The rain was warm and soaked my jacket but my mind was far away from my physical discomfort. The roar of the Blanco River was deafening and it felt so near to my house but I couldn’t see it. Neighbors were heading out in their cars, passing me by, leaving me there alone in the lane. I knew something dreadful was happening.

 

It rained for over two weeks here in the hill country of Texas, off and on, with massive, drenching bouts of rain. The rivers were all running full. But on Saturday, May 30, it poured all day. I woke up feeling so sad, and I paced around the house looking at things, wondering what would break my heart to live without. Funny how small things grow into desperately large emotional attachments at times like this. I pulled out a duffel and stuffed my favorite clothes and jewelry inside, half absentmindedly, but spurred on by a nagging voice in the back of my head. Then came out the cat carriers and my bag with passport and money, etc. Each trek out to the car left me soaked. And each time, I looked up and down the street to see what my neighbors were doing. No signs of movement. OK. Hunker down. But that river got louder and louder. Like a freight train roaring past. It is about 100 yards from my house, between trees and another home. I did get so restless that around midnight I walked around the corner with my flashlight. The water was up to the street which meant that the houses against the river were under water. omg. That’s when cars started up and drove off. Now many of these people have lived here for years, it is an old neighborhood and they were pretty river savvy. But what happened next was totally unexpected.

 

Blue, Suzanne's nine year old cat, originally a rescue from the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

Blue, Suzanne’s nine year old cat, originally a rescue from the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

 

Upriver about 30 miles is the town of Blanco. They received eleven inches of rain in one hour and with the already saturated ground, the water slid rapidly into the river channel and charged full speed ahead toward Wimberley. But we didn’t know that. No one did in the moment. Which is what makes a FLASH FLOOD so terrifying. In an instant, a wall of water hit the banks of the winding river with such force that houses high on the cliffs were lifted right up. The ancient cypress trees uprooted like twigs and slammed into bridges and other debris. Cars and trucks floated away. People found themselves unable to get to their cars and out to the roads. Low water crossings filled and blocked passage out of the hill country. All in the pouring rain on a pitch black night. I did manage to get the cats and rabbits into the car and drive around downed trees onto a higher street. Electricity was out all over Wimberley and the police were directing us to the community center which was dark as well. There were people sitting in their cars there in the dark. But at the door was Mayor Thurber, and his voice in the dark advised me to go to the high school.

 

With over 100 cars in the parking lot, there were lights, a dry spot on the basketball court floor, and the Red Cross was handing out sleeping pads, blankets, dry socks (oh, dry socks! it was impossible to describe how nice they felt on my feet). I left the animals in the car and joined the masses and their dogs (so good to see they were included) and we sat our sleep deprived bodies down and waited for daylight. I checked on the animals when the rain took a rare break. They were quiet, but working up a permanent stink eye for me when I opened the car door. In the morning, I joined a couple of my neighbors as we discovered each other, and we came back to the neighborhood only to find the police had blocked off the road leading to our houses. Major flooding down past us, starting at our neighborhood. We were allowed in, and the three of us were overjoyed to find our houses just out of range of the tsunami-like wall of water that hit the rest of the street. All the homes directly on the river were ruined and news coverage shows that was the tip of the iceberg. But standing in my little cabin, looking around at everything just like I left it, I stopped and felt a palpable surge of gratitude rush through me. I knew that I was feeling Grace. I had been allowed to experience the trauma without the devastation. And in that moment, I realized I was experiencing Grace.

 

The sadness of the whole town is unbearable. Family members missing and dead, pets missing and dead. Hundred year old trees and their inhabitants gone. It is spring and numerous birds and their young were drowned. Does who had recently given birth were abandoning their fawns.

 

The numbness of mind and heart are palpable.

 

"The National Guard came to our street and unloaded men with long poles.  They were searching the riverbanks for the bodies of the missing."

“The National Guard came to our street and unloaded men with long poles. They were searching the riverbanks for the bodies of the missing.”

 

In my world, without electricity, phone and internet, the perspective was so personal, so right here. Watching it now as the rest of the country got to see it is shockingly personal. I have often sat in my recliner and watched tragedies unfold with the voice of the commentator filling my mind with the facts and events as they progress. But inside of a tragedy, there is no such Big Picture. There is only the moment filled with fear and unknowns. Clarity of mind was not without difficulty. So the witness aspect of me had everything in control, car packed, essentials, knew how to find shelter. But the emotional part of me was terrified. I’d never lived through a natural disaster like this before.

 

Lying on the wooden floor of the basket ball court at the high school, I found it impossible to sleep. I listened to the voices of the people who came in, numb with shock, with tales much worse than mine. Cars floating away, family members missing, swimming through the foul, violent water full of toxic debris to get to higher ground. Some were visitors whose vacations were abruptly ended in tragedy. Others have lived with the moody river currents and had never seen anything like this before. Not re-assuring. I was cold and wet and the night was agonizingly long.

 

"A fawn I rescued the day after the flood when the new moms panicked and abandoned their newborns. Texas A&M brought a huge mobile clinic to us and they gave her fluids and called a rehabilitator."

“A fawn I rescued the day after the flood when the new moms panicked and abandoned their newborns. Texas A&M brought a huge mobile clinic to us and they gave her fluids and called a rehabilitator.”

 

The week after the flood has been almost as violently chaotic as the flood itself. Bulldozers and bobcats drone on all day long clearing the larger pieces of homes, cars, 200 year old cypress trees, roots and all, and mud. Awful, stinky, toxic mud that piled up into the homes that were left standing. Yet, my little corner of the neighborhood dodged a bullet, and we are unscathed by the hand of darkness that ruined the houses beyond us. There has been plenty to do and for me it looked like collecting a newborn fawn whose mother abandoned her amidst the chaos. Texas A&M had an emergency vet clinic at the high school. Very helpful. They were able to rehydrate her and send her off to a wildlife rehabber to join countless other orphans. Wildlife had joined in our life interrupted. Even now I hear a heron calling to a mate whose nest was most likely in a tall cypress that was destroyed. A kitten appeared on the road, barely able to avoid the cars, starving and displaced. She has found a good home and a loving person to care for her.

 

Since I see each experience as an opportunity to awaken, I am spending my quiet time reflecting on what this experience means to me personally. Why was I here at this time and place? How was it my good fortune to have been spared the brutal impact of the river’s violence. How do I respond to the layers of fears and emotions that I find flowing through my body flooding into my consciousness. The anxiety that kept me vigilant that night has stayed inside me. It fights to stay alive as the exhaustion sets in. I work to release the anxiety, all the while thinking about how the disaster will change the lives of so many people here and wondering just how it will change mine.

 

July 21. It has been seven weeks after the now named Memorial Day flood. My cats have resumed their routines as have many townspeople. After all, how else can one heal from the traumas of life. Yet, early this morning I felt the low rumble of two massively huge trucks work their way around our narrow lane to the mountains of crumpled cement and rebar that remain after the foundations of the ruined houses were jack-hammered loose from their peaceful perches above the riverbanks. The trucks have their own cranes and can carry the weight of the heavy debris. I wonder how much of it all can be reused as fill or whatever. How careful we are to recycle and in one horrendous moment, everything becomes trash. Like the tsunami in Japan washing up on the Pacific coast of the US months later. How do I hold the futility of it all in balance with throwing the next plastic bottle into the recycle bin. I remember Ram Dass giving a lecture many years ago on “how to keep your heart open in hell.” I thought that I understood that concept but here it was again. I feel the shock wearing off and yet I have a deep vulnerability that lives in my cells and calls out for understanding and a rebirth of my perspective of being in the world. My life has been about awakening to new perspectives as change spins me like the planet spiraling through the cosmos. Always perceiving moments with new awareness, revisiting memories and feelings to alter them into the Present. The flood has whisked me into it’s powerful jet of water and sent me out of control down the stream into uncharted channels of my consciousness.

 

What an amazing process.

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The Rochester panel.

 

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The Sego Canyon panel.

 

Detail of the Sego Canyon panel.

Detail of the Sego Canyon panel.

 

These beautiful photos were taken by Kirk Robinson, who writes this about them –

 

The pecked images, such as the Rochester panel, are called petroglyphs; and the painted ones, such as the Sego Canyon panel, are called pictographs.  Originally, many of the petroglyphs were also painted.  They may have also been decorated with feathers and other natural materials.

 

There is obviously a lot of meaning in these interesting figures, but it is hard to know what they mean.  Sometimes you can tell what individual images represent – desert bighorn sheep being the most common of the petroglyph figures in most of the West, but also deer, bears and birds, etc. – but other times they are mythical creatures or spirits that combine body parts from more than one animal.  Some look like images of prehistoric animals.  Others are what we call anthropomorphs, because they have a generally human shape with a torso and head, and sometimes hands and legs.  They might represent spirits or shaman.  Some images appear to be shields. However, most of the panels are more than just a set of images. They tell a story, or multiple stories, and are not simply representational. Some Indians might have more insight into their meaning than we foreigners. We tend to be too literal, whereas their traditions involve a lot of symbolism.

 

Unfortunately, vandalism is a big problem for Native American rock art. The easier it is for people to get to rock art panels, and the more well-known they are, the more likely they are to be vandalized.  A lot of folks think they are just graffiti, which is not true.  That belief is a reflection of ignorance.  Many of them required great skill and a lot of time to make, and were used for important religious ceremonies.  They are like murals and the sites were carefully chosen.  Often times a panel features multiple stories from different periods and different cultures, one overlaid on another or right next to each other.  It is nearly impossible to date rock art accurately, but many panels are several thousand years old, while some are only a few hundred years old.  Some of the more recent ones show cowboys on horseback and locomotives.

 

It is important that we respect these treasures and protect them.  Never touch them with your fingers or any other object. Time alone will erase them soon enough without our help.

 

 

 

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By Suzanne Cordrey

 

I was invited to travel with a friend who is one of the “guardians” of the most ancient rock art paintings in the United States. I had no idea what I was going to see nor that it even existed when I just felt that old familiar pull from within that said “Go with her.”

 

Truth be told, I have not been to many places in Texas since I moved here. The only thing I knew was that we were headed for the Mexican border. Lots of emotion around that, since Texas has had such a big influx of illegals, including lots of children on trains from all over central America.  Such heartbreak, trauma, families torn apart, and such divisive opinions amongst the people here. We had been told that the cabin we were to stay in had been broken into by illegals just a couple of weeks ago. Feeling’ real safe about hearing that!

 

So Melinda and I packed up and headed down to a place called Seminole Canyon where all this awesome rock art lives. To Melinda, it is like her spiritual home. She was born and raised mostly by a single mom in eastern Texas. It amazes me to see how all of us can have such humble beginnings and still end up shining our spiritual light into the world. Now she is an RN, an acupuncturist, and I met her at a tai chi class that she reaches. She lives just up the road from me.

 

All I know is that we are heading south, through the wildflower covered fields of the hill country, and I watched as the scenery changed into thick bushy mesquite trees and cactus, albeit blooming cacti.  Ocotillo, prickly pear, acacia bushes, lechuguilla, all enriching the high desert plateau of western Texas.  Towns like Boerne, Uvalde, Del Rio flashed by on green road signs as I enjoyed the feeling of the changing ecology. Soon we came upon a large body of water.. What? Here? It is a man made reservoir called Lake Amistad. Bridges arching gracefully over fingers of clear blue water, leading off into what looks like nowhere. One road just ended right into the water; got flooded out after the dam closed. And there was an incident a couple of years ago where an American was shot while riding his Ski-doo in the Lake by someone on the Mexican side. His wife saw him fall and went to his rescue but couldn’t l save him and he drowned. I’m surprised she wasn’t shot. The International border is in the center of the lake but who knows where. Prickles of Weirdness creep up my spine.

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But Melinda is full of excitement and begins to weave a web of magic about how the rock art we are about to see was found in the 1930s and about the long process of acquiring the land and regulating the caves where the murals are painted. We drive past the reservoir and unlock a gate, bounce over a couple miles of dirt track and the cabin comes into view. It sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking the lower Pecos River, which looks huge there because it is running into Lake Amistad and backs up there. Gorgeous!. The cabin is empty, we bring everything including our own water. Primitive but screened in and has a stove. I’m cool with that.

 

Desert birds fill the evening skies with song, a pair of blue herons fly in harmony in the late day breeze and greet us with a flyby over the cabin. I had a hidden agenda in that I wanted to see the night skies, clear and unobstructed from the sweet oak trees that drape over my little cabin in Wimberley. Big night sky and Jupiter, Venus and Mercury were all present for the big reveal which made my heart beat with joy.

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Early morning and we hike down into the canyon to see the White Shaman. The ancients here made this area their home around 3500 years ago. Long before the Anasazis inhabited the Four Corners area. No one knows who these people were, but skeletal remains have been used to replicate faces and they have been honored in bronze statues here. The theory about the White Shaman mural that I can relate to is that they used peyote and datura plants, which are represented in the paintings, fell into an altered state and saw beyond their third dimensional lives. They left recordings of traveling into the “otherworld” and instructions on how to do it. It reminds me of the Egyptian hieroglyphs and their meaningful journeys. And both cultures would be overlapping in time. I always thought that streams of consciousness wove through civilizations, just waiting for people to become aware of them. In the White Shaman mural, there is much symbology of the number 5, and there are 5 shamans standing in line, with a white shaman emerging from the body of the center shaman.

 

We spent a couple of hours musing over the figures, then turned our attention to the canyon behind us that we had just climbed down into. A peaceful, private, lush green canyon with a crazy canyon wren singing his laughing song to us, and a beautiful painted bunting, one of the most brilliantly colored songbirds in the US, sat in full view for us to admire him.  I could have died right then and there. Then, I almost did. As we left the cave and climbed up the steep narrow pathway that was littered with crumbled limestone, out of nowhere, I slipped and fell. Reaching out to grab something, I impailed my arm on a dead twig. I had to lift it off the branch and one look told me that it was deep. Melinda went into nurse mode, wrapping it up and as soon as I fought off the shock of it all, we hiked up to the rope and I had to use that arm to pull myself up the slick rock hand over hand to get up to the edge of the canyon. All the way to the car we went back and forth abut whether to seek urgent care or wait three days to get help. The winning course of action was to drive into Del Rio and get it stitched up and get antibiotics for infection. It was just too damn deep. Well, that took care of a whole afternoon. But I wasn’t willing to return home. It was just my forearm, after all.

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Melinda had to guide a tour on Saturday, so I stayed at the cabin and let the pain pills float me into a lovely time warp that lasted all day. I had no idea what time it was, and let my spirit soar free as I looked out over the Pecos river and read the books Melinda brought about the history of the rock art in the area. Birds sang, herons circled together below, the wind blew, keeping it cool and the sky played the most magic picture show of soft, soaring clouds and then a brilliant orange sunset . That evening another guide from the rock art foundation showed up, lit a fire in the pit, and told his tales of life as it is for him since he moved there. He, too, is smitten with the rock art, like it has beckoned to its spiritual family to come and protect it and these people have felt so drawn to be there. I recognize that calling, as I too, was called to go to Macchu Picchu years ago. Maybe these people were the ones who painted the pictures on the walls of the caves. Who knows? I smile at the Bigger Picture that we are all drawn into. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing.

 

Our last day there lured us over the Seminole Canyon State Park, where another mural called Fate Bell is accessible. Larger tours go there and it is much easier to get to. Meaning that over the years, it has been plundered a bit. But a particular guide that is very knowledgeable was giving his last tour and Melinda was eager to hear him. He is young and his wife is not as enamored with the vast western desert and it’s lack of amenities as he is. So they are moving. The tour was very powerful with many cosmic signs that I recognized as spirit on the move through us all.  The young man spoke of the connection of the ancients with the modern day Huichols of northern Mexico and how so many of the ceremonial rituals are alike. He thinks the Huichols are the decendants of this culture and that the peyote ceremonies are practices in many of the same ways.  And it is all written on the walls of these caves. There are 123 known cave murals in Texas and no one knows how many are on the Mexican side.  It is too dangerous to travel over there at this time, but someday in future, when peace spreads over the land and borders are a thing of the past, we can work together to uncover the rest of the rock art. I know it seems unlikely, but then nothing is what it seems……………………..

 

Photos: © 2015, Suzanne Cordrey

 

 

Every wolf could be Echo.

Council for all wildlife

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By Suzanne Cordrey

What is it about the jungle that is so mesmerizing, so breathtaking that it overpowers the senses and reduces me into a giddy, childlike state of joy? Every time.

After a long travel day and an Indiana Jones ride in the dark looking for a house we’ve never been to, fording streams and potholes big enough to snorkel in, we fell asleep in hammocks, air mattresses and beds with the warm tropical rain pattering on the roof, competing noisily with the din of night creatures whistling, croaking and outdoing each other. At some point in the night, we all awoke to a violent shaking and realized it was an earthquake. All the noise stopped for a few minutes and the rhythmic lapping of the waves down at the beach assured us it was over. Not sure of the cosmic significance of that.

The open air house replete…

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Tall,

To the sun

And the moon they rise,

Pillars

That hold up the land

Of the stars,

In the early morning

Of time.

 

Where the chime

Of butterflies

Rings in the mist

Of clouds,

Where the horses of the wind climb

Archaic hills, peace settles,

Free from the shrouds

Of thought bewildered.

 

When the grinding wheels

Of the rattling cars,

The careening cart,

Of the manic race of beings that never stops

Have stopped, unspinned,

And fallen down

From the lofty wall,

Their memory lies

Quiet,

Dimming,

In the cheerful company

Of ghosts,

In the sooted

Shambles of empires

Cast

Under the snapping heels

Of fate.

Then

The coyotes

And the ever-knowing raven

Will run again

In gladness,

Across the red rock sand.

 

 

The wild hills, free now,

As the lilies

Of eternity

Who bow

In the wandering wind

By the bright

And undiscovered

Sea.

 

 

After the horns

Of many winters

Have fallen silent,

The husk

Of time

Discarded,

The aspiring rose will lift

Her head again

Among the rocks, resilient,

In the ice-enchanted

Spring.

The wind will sing.

Stones

Will shine, blessed in the twinkling

Emptiness

Of night.

The crow

Hops

In black

Clouds that inhabit

A sky of joy;

Coyotes laugh last

In the dance of the dusk,

And the ancient,

Earlier folk

Walk

To take back

The sacred mountain

Stolen

So long ago,

Now that the age of the unholy

Will be ended and done,

Gone

On the smoke

Of the fleeing mist.

 

 

Under a delicate crown

Of forest

Leaves, mice play

Among their catch,

The silver

Trinkets of the dead,

And talk

A while of feats of yore.

Herons glimmer,

One-footed,

On the green, tree-

Shouldered river.

Such an ill wind

That blew

Into the bones

Of the soul

Of men,

And stayed, corroding

The core

Of history,

Such a grim, unseemly game,

Like thorns

Lodged in the heart,

But when the scales fall

Away,

One by one by one,

Then

In the end there are only

The plain, rain-lit,

And the rose that flowers anew,

The innocent petals

Of nevermore,

And the farmer’s boy

Who whistles

In the strawberry patch,

By the lop-sided shack,

Where the corn stalks grow,

His blue

Hat adrift

On his head,

In the town

With no name,

Where the raven rules, with the snow-

Winged geese.

 

 

The sun holds the empty bowl,

Blessed be his ashen fires.

Agni, the one

Who returns

All

Back to the beginning.

Set the burning

Lanterns

Out and wait

In peace,

From within the rock and mist

To hear a killdeer call,

To sail away

To a far and luminous shore,

Known so well from long before,

On the flaming ships of dawn.

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2014

 

Photo: © Colin Young | Dreamstime.com