For World Poetry Day, from my novel, Prophecy of the Wolf, close to being released
The woman wrapped the child against the cold
And walked into the forest where the glow
Of moonlight pooled a deeply shadowed gold
Beneath the trees on softly shining snow.
She gathered wood, the baby on her back,
And built a fire, its warmth a dancing light
Upon a great flat rock protruding black
Into the lake’s infinity of white.
Then, in the dark, sat, death-still, beside
The flames, the baby in her arms, the smear
Of stars above their heads a radiant tide
Of silence singing to the ebbing year.
At last, her voice a permutation slipped
Into the night, she started chanting words
Born deep in spirit as the blackened crypt
Of waters stirred beneath lake ice, and birds,
As black as mourning shrouds, began to fly,
The forest stirring like the waters, wind
A whisper as the baby voiced a tiny cry
And shadowy trees began to sway and bend.
The woman got up on her feet, her voice
As silver as the moon, and sang as deer
Began to bound onto the ice: “Rejoice,”
The woman sang, and as she sang the fear
Felt during hours of pain-filled, labored birth
Dissolved into the biting wind and light
That danced with deer upon the lake, the earth
And living integrated with the night.
Forever is not a word
In our universe,
nothing in it
stays the same.
One day our earth
will become pieces
in the cosmic pond.
We are not forever.
in the early morning
through the quiet rooms
will one day drift away.
Forever is not a word
in our universe.
One day we too
will have to part.
I look for places
where deer could hide
in dense thickets
or in wetlands with tall reeds--
too hard for hunters to enter.
I remember you telling me
that you would see deer
lying down in the swamps,
water up to their faces,
hiding from approaching hunters.
You, who went out each day
during hunting season
to hunt deer,
then came back at night
to tell us
you saw nothing that day—
walking your land
but never raising the gun
to your chest.
Sometimes I want to go to you
but remember that I have
put you in a special room
far from here,
a room, nonetheless,
with an open door,
so that I can enter
So, I can see
your smile when you
were running with Shiva,
the golden lab,
through autumn leaves
in a special forest
So, I can walk through that door