Evening

clouds during sunset
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Did you think to thank the evening?

I am the evening,

I have a soul, old and real,

A being – an essence from another age –

The flowering sage,

Spilling gold,

The half-moon watching,

The glimmering petals of time

That bloom

Between the echoes

Of lost places,

The ravens recounting

Tales untold

Of yesteryear,

The wheel

Running on and on,

While the tadpole curls up into sleep.

Did you thank the One

Who made the evening?

Or did you assume that all came together

Just entirely by chance?

A lovely accident

With no intent?

Nothing to see,

An idle dance?

Yet the evening is a petal

On the deepening rose of time

By the haunting cliff, steep,

Blown in the owl-awakened wind,

Gently, as the clouds

Fold up into stars

And the clear sky sings

Her song with crowds

Of hummingbirds that chime,

Recalling the embers

Of lilting Septembers

From far, far away,

Traces of rain remembered,

The wall of China

Winds around the rolling hills,

From lands long ago

In the swirling snow.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Written September 14, 2021

Red cliffs

grand canyon during golden hour
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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

The truth of Agni

flight dawn landscape sky
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The truth of Agni;

Fire consumes the illusion.

Trees walk on the black way

To the stars,

Trees who remember,

With the stones,

The earth’s enchanted bones,

The beginning and the ending,

The faces of the stones rise,

Red, gold,

Patterned in scars,

Walls of stone, tall,

Remembering

All

The dragonflies

And the elven folk

Of long ago;

No one believes

In them now

Though

They sang the truth of the stars.

In the ending – skies

Of gray

And white – oppression.

The smoke of time,

The embers

Of existence,

The age of blindness,

Of existential crime,

Treachery,

And war

Going now,

On the winds of time.

Shiva dancing both time and eternity,

In the stark

Winds that clear the smoke

Of being.

Soon, the bough

Of the oak

Will climb

Into the shimmering rain

Of Indra.

There, the face of Shiva

In the gold

Trees – twinkling among the leaves,

In a world so old –

That came before —

Yet shines again –

Now

In the ever-glimmering rain,

In the train

Of flowers,

In the arc

Of ancient powers.

***

Written August 7, 2021

© Sharon St Joan

Before the moon will write

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Gone

Now, the cloud-wandering

Of the winter night,

Before the moon

Will write

Her comments

Across the pale

Rock

Invoking

Those untraveled moments

Yet to be, when soon

The silver, ambling feet

Of quail

Will flock

To greet

The sky-winged

Innocence of dawn.

Written around 1990

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Before and Again

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Do you hear

The standing stone that sings

Again, as it did in the shining days

Before time eclipsed the starstrands

Of eternity?

Closed now the crypts of concrete flowers

Papered

With the dead photos

Of gray kings

Winding up their own

Long, white-wintered

Year.

But out through the windows

Past the gates

Lie far, fair lands

Of bright bells

Which ring,

Triumphant always

As the sunlight and the shadows

Fall

Along the hawthorne tree

There the mist encircles the hills

Where the great-pawed panther dwells

And gaily plays

Gathering spells

Amid the wildrose bowers,

While red-winged blackbirds call

Forth anew those long-lost

Powers,

The angels of ancient hours

And goldfinches fly, exultant, like petals tossed

And blown

On waves of rain showers,

And, out there

The king of apple blossoms waits

For the day of spring

Holding moonbeams in his hands.

Written around 1988

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Hanuman, son the wind

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Hanuman,

Son of the wind,

Forest-eyed,

Sent to free

Entangled innocence from rusted snares,

From the bitter clawhold of Ravana,

To guide the gold-winged butterfly,

The shy, dawn-eyed doe,

The nagalinga tree

Of skylit flower,

The brave host of bears

On the oak-hallowed hill,

The bright-songed messengers, in flight,

The belled, meandering cow,

The redwoods of ancient girth,

The moon-

Finned

Minnows

Of silver gill,

Out from the chasms of desolation

Of a world gone awry

Back to the far, far

Reaches of the beginning – before ever time arose

Back to the shining lake of the mountain height

Hidden unseen in the green land of the star

Where mists of joy run

Like horses on the white river, wide,

Where the spring cactus unfolds gold and red.

A day to bring the innocent out, away

In the boat of the canted bow

That fled

Across the storm-bent sea

In the gale-churned hour.

Do you remember your flaming brand

And the fire that went up to swallow

The iron-souled city of Lanka?

Hanuman,

Savior of the innocent, hero-son

Of earth and star,

There  –  hear the call of the raven chime

From the canyon of ill-kept time.

Soon

Hanuman,

Son of the wind,

Breath of the earth.

© Sharon St Joan

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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