Wilderness Mind: Dissolving Duality

SELECTED POEMS ON THE THEME OF WILDERNESS

by Deena Metzger

MaryLinda Moss

ABOVE: MaryLinda Moss, “Performative Installation, Angel's Gate tree- 'of the earth' series”

What the Trees Know

It is hot and still.
Thunderclouds moving,
unmoving.
The leaves and grasses
flutter slightly only
when I pray for the song
the trees want to hear us
sing to make amends.

Everywhere I look,
everywhere, there are stumps.
The trees are aware, always,
of their kin cut down.
These deaths are different
from falling, falling
and rising up again,
even from the same body.

How the men go on
about the bear, deer and elephants
destroying the trees and woodlands.
But in the lifetime of trees,
that can be hundreds
or thousands of years,
no ultimate harm comes
from how they live.
They have worked it out together.
This is what we do not understand:
Together. Together,
A word we do not know.

And so the clouds pass us by
again. And the heat settles
into a slow burn
as smoke rises somewhere
in the western sky,
The sun has turned from white
to magenta, and the bandit moon
has a red bandana across her mouth.
And even if, as legend says,
the trees hold water in their roots
for each other, and
this keeps the soil
from burning everywhere,
it is so hot
they will flame soon.

Regardless, the night
will not come to ease us.


Marie Cenkner

ABOVE: “Bar Owl Departing” by Marie Cenkner


Oh Great Spirit

In the name of Raven. In the name of Wolf. In the name of Whale. In the name of Elephant. In the name of Snake.

Who have taught us. Who have guided us. Who have sustained us. Who have healed us.

Please heal the animals.

In the name of Raven. In the name of Wolf. In the name of Whale. In the name of Elephant. In the name of Snake.

Whom we have slaughtered. Whom we have feared. Whom we have caged. Whom we have persecuted. Whom we have slandered. Whom we have cursed. Whom we have tortured.

Protect the animals.

In the name of Raven. In the name of Wolf. In the name of Whale. In the name of Elephant. In the name of Snake.

Whose habitat we have stolen. Whose territory we have plundered. Whose feeding grounds we have paved and netted. Whose domain we have poisoned. Whose food we have eaten. Whose young we have killed. Whose lives and ways of life we threaten.

Restore the animals.

In the name of Raven. In the name of Wolf. In the name of Whale. In the name of Elephant. In the name of Snake.

Forgive us. Have mercy. May the animals return. Not as a resurrection but as living beings. Here. On earth. On this earth that is also theirs.

Oh Great Spirit. Heal the animals. Protect the animals. Restore the animals.
Our lives will also be healed. Our souls will be protected. Our spirits will be restored.

Oh Spirit of Raven. Oh Spirit of Wolf. Oh Spirit of Whale. Oh Spirit of Elephant. Oh Spirit of Snake.

Teach us, again how to live.

Danielle Eubank

ABOVE: “Pines” by Danielle Eubank


Light on the Old Pine

The candle of the pine
has split off and fallen alongside the living tree,
and the light on the toppled trunk
is making candlelight of the needles.
so life and death are companions once again.
It may take the entire remaining life of the tree
for the fallen trunk to disappear into another living future.
Each day it offers more of itself up
but barely.
Nearby, a young pine has broken in half,
its upper trunk has severed, has become a limb
extending straight out
in places, still green.
Life persists through the narrowest channels.

This is what I count on:
that perpendicular limb and the broken ridgepole,
and, oh, yes, the light on the golden needles.


Sandra Mueller

ABOVE: Sandra Mueller, “Venus Swirls”

A Lake in the Mind

What’s essential is a lake in the mind,
and then this wind freshening, blowing through the windows, insistent with the   
assurance of morning,
but now the shimmer of the first moon
on the waters and the blue glimmer of the night sky alive with invisible stars

and such a long draught of silence—
the water clear and coming from a source
which is either
at the very core of the earth
or somewhere far beyond earth in the heavens—
that we speak of it in the only language we know,

the early morning or midnight of the lake, the first streak of birdsong
across the waters, the way the moonlight breaks,

this language, being the only language for what it is we wish to speak about without saying a word,

the early morning or midnight of the lake and the first streak of birdsong

and the wind blowing across the surface of the mind like a bell.


From Ruin and Beauty: New and Selected Poems Copyright ©2009 Deena Metzger

Published by Red Hen Press, Los Angeles, California

Deena Metzger is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, storyteller and healer. Story is her medicine. She is a radical thinker on behalf of the natural world and planetary survival, a teacher of writing and healing practices for almost 50 years and a writer and activist profoundly concerned with peacemaking, restoration and sanctuary for a beleaguered world. She also teaches a 19 Ways program called “A Training for the 5th World.” More at www.deenametzger.net.