Sooner or later you get out of the Deep Darks. I’m doing two steps forward and only one back right now. Which is better than one step forward and two back (I think – I can’t quite get a good visual on that). So when I read Patti Digh’s post for today and recognized the poem, it seemed perfect for what I need to hear right now, here in this place where I am. Yesterday it would have been my own and Lucille Clifton’s Kali poems – but that energy made 4 art journal pages instead. That you got these instead shows movement.
(Part II of “Woman Song” by Tammy Vitale)
The air wraps around me
full of water, mosquitoes and
the songs of toads. The
moon plays hide
and seek behind tall trees
bearded with kudzu, lays firefly
lights on tiretrack puddles
among watchful frogs.
Sleep clouds my eyes
the imprint of grass still
on my cheek; obligations
tug at my ankles but
I cast them into the lamp light circle
and cross beyond
into waiting darkness. I crunch
through leaves smelling of secrets
and push past low branches leaving
wisps of hair tangled with wild
roses, bits of flesh
on blackberry thorns. I discard
my daytime masks one by one and
shed the sparkly lizard costume I have worn
so long it has become
my second skin, each spangle a brick
against pain I should have felt, each scale a tear
drop on the unmarked trail.
Beside the fallen oak. holding on
to willow saplings, I slip
naked into nighttime water to swim
and to chant with crickets the names
of people who have loved me,
trying to remember
who I am.
by David Wagoner (with thanks to Patti Digh’s post – for reminding me of this favorite)
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.