After a while

rock formation
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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, 2021

Winged One

shallow focus photo of swan on body of water
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Ever ancient one,

Winged One

You who sail

Beyond the chime

Of the wind,

Who enfold

The rings

Of magic beings,

You who fly

Between the lands of the stars,

Who know

The heart within all things,

Even the patterns on the tossed jars,

Of years swept out to sea

By the glinting rush of rivers,

You who climb

With the innocent

Feet

Of the flock

Of goats on the worn hill,

Who shine as the whispering of pale

Gold

Flowers,

As the fleet

Dance of the sacred waters,

Among the holy stones at daybreak,

Pure being,

Winged soul of time

And eternity,

You are ever the light within

The gathered shawl

Of the deepening sky,

Ever the wind set loose on the lapping

Indigo

Lake,

Ever the echo

Of the silver swans whose call

Sings

Still

Within the lily

Of spring

Through the open

Window

In the rock.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

A request: How to help India during Covid:

First: Go to forestvoicesofindia.com

and sign up for the newsletter – to stay in touch

and receive news.

Second: At forestvoicesofindia.com,

you can give to help. The donate button is

on the right.

Third: Please send this message to a friend

(or to all your friends).

Peace, many blessings, and thank you!

Forest Voices of India

The feet of Shiva, dancing

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In the far

Times

Of the winds forsaken,

Remains the now.

Nothing.  No one.

No time.

No space.

The ship’s bow

Cuts through the open water, choppy.

No crime

Of destiny.

No mistake.

Only

That golden-footed deer

Who leaps from the star

In the heavens

Into a bright meadow

Of sunset

Lilies,

In those more

Sacred gardens

By the crashing sea.

In leaving behind

The tapestries

Of maya,

The flames of un-becoming,

The fear

That lies

Like thin ice, narrow

On the fragile lake,

One may find

The Presence,

The paintings of Kailasanathar

Effaced by centuries – long slipped away,

Yet

More

Vibrant still than ever before

When their black orchid eyes

Gleam in the night of the soul,

In resonance,

Beyond all paths of being,

Beyond the impending end.

The sky-bright day

Of Brahma

Closes now.

The birds of light have fled,

Yet

Nonetheless

The worlds awaken

In gladness,

To rise

Anew

Once more.

That which cannot be

Will be.

The cloth spun

With no thread

Becomes the diaphanous gown of myriads of stars,

The one

Pausing in the mist

Becomes the tumbling Ganges

Falling on the forest

Floor.

The bells toll.

The undoing becomes the being

And the white-crowned sparrow

Hops from world to world, leaf-green

By the bough

Of the plum tree

Along the cliffs askew

In the deep river gorge below,

While far away,

There,

At Chidambaram, where

No one, it seems, is watching,

Only the enhancing magic screen,

All begins,

The beginning, the ending, and the beginning again,

Ever near

By the clear

Moon-winged grace

Of the feet of Shiva

Dancing.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

A request: How to help India during Covid:

First: Go to forestvoicesofindia.com

and sign up for the newsletter – to stay in touch

and receive news.

Second: At forestvoicesofindia.com,

you can give to help. The donate button is

on the right.

Third: Please send this message to a friend

(or to all your friends).

Peace, many blessings, and thank you!

Forest Voices of India

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

The bells of Shiva

rainforest during foggy day
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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

Kamakshi’s Light

landscape photography of waterfalls surrounded by green leafed plants
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In a meandering land of mystic moons,

At the waystation 

Between the worlds — unremembered, translucent,

Walking, not yet understanding,

Beyond the shifting sand dunes.

At the crossroads by the river

Of fish glimmering, shimmering,

In a sliver 

Of moonlight

Waits a boat of mist,

In a time that is no 

Time,

In a place that is no place,

We walk before the dawn

In a land of gentle grace,

In a land of stars and mist,

As we climb a tilted rise,

There ahead a mountain looms alone,

Home of fir trees, of summer’s moss,

And winter’s cold,

Of crystal stone,

Eclipsed in silver wings of snow

Of thrice-weathered rocks,

Of beings old

Older than the earth – from long before,

Of grandfathers that go along on a bent cane,

In the time that never was – sure-footed, wise,

Beyond a fog-inducing year 

Of history 

Come unpinned,

In a land that will wait,

Just past the wooden post of the gate,

There, where an angel’s footstep shone 

On the dark 

Valley floor – benevolent,

And be waiting, for the dawn that breaks, 

Transcendent,

For the golden eagles to lift into the clear sun,

Once more,

Into the deep blue,

To fly,

To cry,

To lift their sky-

Engulfing intent

In awakening days

Of lakes

And the white, waving wildflowers,

The rose-enchanted nettles,

That sing songs of ancient powers

In the cool wind

Anew,

Where Kamakshi,

The black, opalescent one, ringed in every mystery,

She who is mother of the forest,

Of springing deer

And sparkling fawn,

Of flocks of horned lark,

Of the long-billed curlew

Who tiptoes across 

The water’s edge then turns to glance

Again at the light-calling pinion jays,

While Kamakshi gathers up her winged petals

Of joy – anew,

Now to dance 

In the bright-

Singing rain.

By Sharon St Joan

© Sharon St Joan, 2020

 

Trees walking

Trees walking

By Sharon St Joan

Photo by Melvin Wahlin on Pexels.com

Within the rose

Shining in the night,

A shimmering cloud 

Grows,

Within the night

A crowd

Of trees walking,

Walking through bright

Hills of mist,

Back to the beginning

Again,

Back to the sacred – not forgotten – forest

Of rains and stars and winged beings,

Of boats that sail long in the rushing rivers of the skies.

There floats

Within the lake-enchanted eyes

Of the tiger;

In an ember of perception,

The presence

Of Durga,

Who holds up the resilient dagger 

Of truth,

Imparting the courage

To be walking

Through fields of lilies,

On dimming days,

Through the magic of the gloam,

Guided by the long-known

Beings of light,

By the souls of the trees

Going home,

By the trees

That remember

Always.

In the night of the swan

Who knows 

All things

Within the fire,

The river of eternity,

The beings walk on

Within the voice, lone, not far away,

Of the great-horned owl

Who calls, 

In reply to the howl

Of the winds of the night, 

And who guides lost feet

In the frost

Of winter’s time,

In the sleet,

In the snows,

In the reflection,

Dancing on the ice,

Breaking in the spring,

In the sound of the chime

Of the ancient day,

Returning.

The higher 

Truth of the light

And the walking, not alone,

Where the souls of the trees

Breathe 

In the holy darkness

And in the brightness

Of the day that is yet to be,

Shining.

© Sharon St Joan, 2020

Written August 28, 2020

The white moths of time

full-moon-over-trees-in-winter: publicdomainpictures.net

 

The white moths

Of time listen

To the silken threads of the moon glisten.

Indeed,

Perhaps it is time, not the world

That needs

To end?

For the world of men

Has dimmed,

Grown cold, like Mars,

And is no more.

Only the sting

Lingers,

The bite of ignorance past.

In the mists of Scotland,

There is hidden magic.

Where did Agni go when he went?

He fled away across the hills

Where no one could find him,

And left the land bereft of warmth.

But he did not truly

Go,

And the moonlight,

Amethyst,

Falls on the whole lake, dreamed in snow.

No one has gone,

Only the gray wraith

Of doom

Who cursed the morning

From the chill tomb.

No one is lost

On the sharp footfall

Of the descent,

Because the eagle watches

Through the ice-clawed

Storm.

The rain still

Slips

Down the rock-ringed hill.

The eyes of the deer recall

The face of sunshine, and the breath

Of the seas that sing

On the shore

Where the fingers of dawn

Awaken the sky.

The flowers of the sun

Beckon

The dragon,

Silver-pawed;

Black cows stand

In the peace of the meadow.

The calf trips

Through the tall grass.

Trees grow their leaves.

The shy

Calico cat leaps into the valley of tulips.

The frog calls the rain.

The white

Horse is the moon who wanders.

The raven is the night,

Daughter of Shani,

Born of the cosmic

Egg, the feathers of the yew,

The elbows of the eon.

Who guessed

That owls live in the stones too,

And Europe’s

Neanderthal;

The rags of clouds, of cloth

Unfurled,

Fly to where, who can tell?

In the river sails the incarnate trout

Of golden gill.

By what temple did you used to rest,

Your wooden bowl in hand?

Who lit the lamps for you

When the moon went out

And time fell?

Would the rain come again?

Broken branches

On the Great War’s trenches,

The snow was too heavy.

The dancing of branches,

The singing of stars,

Time to go north,

Fleet deer of spring,

Gone with the white-crowned sparrow.

In whose soul does the lily dwell?

Is the deer the eternal grace of the forest?

 

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2019

 

Photo: publicdomainpictures.net

 

 

 

Rainmother

 

 

Rainmother photos1160-1239959315PjNp -publicdomainpictures.net

 

 

You who flame fire into the dark afternoon,

 

Who shelter the white-crowned sparrow

 

Under your wandering wing,

 

You see how all is gray, in the darkening day,

 

In the echoing mist –

 

All wreathed in gray,

 

Where trees think deeply in the tall

 

Forest;

 

Black-hooded ravens cast rain-running spells.

 

Gray cliffs tower against the horizon.

 

Trees far older than the father of the winds and the snow

 

Stand still

 

From world to ebbing world, eon to eon;

 

Long-needled pine

 

Trees grow

 

Under the pall

 

Of the sky, beyond the silver hill,

 

Down to the core

 

Of the earth below.

 

Who tells

 

Each star her sacred place?

 

Rainmother – you stir

 

The simmering pot

 

Of beginnings and endings,

 

Eternal soul,

 

You rest on the shimmering serpent

 

Who floats coiled on the pearl-gray sea,

 

That rises and falls through the many

 

Bleak winters of nevermore.

 

Mother of all,

 

You bring

 

The radiant, bright

 

Bowl

 

Of peace.

 

Rainmother,

 

Friend to the mystery of becoming,

 

There appear the enchanted geese

 

Who seek solace

 

From the harsh sea-winds and the coming night.

 

Soon,

 

They hear the bells

 

Begin to ring

 

Far out on the gathering waves, singing

 

“Know now that there is no lasting woe,

 

But only the glad grace,

 

Given,”

 

Only the lone,

 

Clear call

 

From the rock-ringed shore

 

Of worlds that were

 

Before.

 

Shot

 

Downriver,

 

Broken loose once more,

 

The cold-clogged, ice-bound floes

 

Of Vritra –

 

That pale sliver of ill-intent –

 

There then arise the flowering days

 

Of flocks of golden meadowlarks;

 

Beneath the cliffs, the opal-eyed, frog-ruled,

 

Rain-pooled,

 

Rushing

 

Waters of worlds that are meant

 

Again to shine;

 

Fear not – abhaya mudra

 

Your voice,  your name – a flame still and always

 

In the numinous dark.

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2019

 

Photo: publicdomainpictures.net