Dancing through the Kingdom of Joy
Alone, the rupture had a sentence
A package of unexpected buoyancy
Laid about thy path.
Oh, shame shame the clouds have come
Accept thy fate and look back no more
Forgive each breath you once deplored
Let run deep thy river’s mane.
Stepping aside, a willow tree
Called thy name twice in vain
But on the third day, as time began
A shift in conscience pulled at thee.
Then with a rod of sixfold and reel
Twang at last, the pauper’s gold
Gifting all that had been told
Left alone in a field of wildflowers.
It is ok to shake revelations
Free from every bushel around your neck
The crow shall come and speak again
Distance will call thy name.
But lonely trees, as sentinels,
Guiding your every step
A breath away feels no pain
And resolutions shape your sky.
Upon the dock I sat
Waiting for a charm
To fulfill my absence;
A lingering presence
Like lapping monotony
In waves of a silent pool,
Like an overgrown tree
My well worn mind,
Drawing figure eights
In shadows of every doubt.
It took me a long time to get over the loneliness I now felt
Each step was an effort of motivation
My heart wanting to turn around and embrace the kindness
But I knew I had to go on
I had kept their names in my pocket book
So I could write them
And they had also given me the address of some friends
That lived East, that I might come across
On my long journey.
The weather was starting to get colder
But still very early in Autumn
So I had quite a while to make it to where I was going
The question of where I was going
Did definitely come across my mind many times
And in conversation with Frank and Amy
I had learned the distances of some of the towns
I would be approaching as I made my way East
You know you’re getting close to a town
As trails become more worn
And paths get wider
Signs of civilization everywhere
From freshly knocked down trees to garbage thrown aside
It was nice to be walking again
When a thin layer of sweat started to heat me
I remembered the little spots easily
That had so been tenderized by my pack and walking
Funny how so quick a body can forget
When it’s not being put to use
None of the pains I had felt working the axe
Inhibited my walking,
Though I instinctively reached for them
From time to time.
I spent most of the day walking at a rapid pace
Trying to get the most out of my peaceful mind
Still with a fresh set of feet and a bushy tail
I barely stopped for lunch
Just quickly finding a soft spot
And eating down the delicious food Amy had sent with me
I held a small piece of dried moose in my hand
As I walked, taking small bites and savoring the flavor
That made the edges of my mouth water uncontrollably
It reminded me of being a kid
And shredding dried jerky to put into our lips
As if we were chewing the real tobacco
A habit I never really did catch on to.
As I sat crosslegged in the little clearing
Hidden as I was, deep within the forest
Heading East to the land of the Old People
I wondered about the faces I might see,
Faces of the men and women who would greet me,
Faces of the children playing in fields
And fields growing with the vigor
Only well cared for fields of tender hands can grow
I knew I would find
In the land of the Old People.
Beside me was a little patch of buttercups
That skirted the edge of deeper forest
Fallen logs and fir needles of this land
I could still hear the brook I had crossed
Calmly gurgling in the distance
My canteen still cold from its fill
My belly still churning from its fill
My fingers still wet and a cold
Only fresh mountain water can give,
A cleaning happily taken
Where I had let my bare feet soak gently a while.
My eyes scanned into the forest
Of an age I guessed ageless
Not a stump to be seen
Finding geometry in naturally fallen trees
Trees standing so tall my guess couldn’t reach
Moss covering so gently
I envisioned the industry nestled
Deep within the safety net of moss
That lay about thickly covered forest floor
Fungus’ mycelia layer hidden well
In healthy circles around the Ancient Giants
Old Man’s Beard hanging low
And spider webs zig-zagging
With its delicate fibers of care.
My pouch was always on me
No matter how far from camp I wandered
So as I moved away from my opening
I felt instinctively for my tools
Stepping over former soldiers
Rotting as life continued its circle
Through the efforts of decay
My soft crunch avoided the mounds
Finding edible mushrooms was easy
This early season of harvest
Upon edges of clearings I’d find strawberries
And blueberries and salmonberry brambles
So thick I’d get high
Feeding so heartily on such sugar
I knew it wouldn’t stay forever.
Fire starting was an economy no man could do without
No sane man that is,
For plenty of nights I’d been cold
In pure darkness of deep night,
But this night I had supple moss
And accessible wood dry enough to start
A warming dance in my blood
Soon the coals were hotter then the wood
That burned inside their whispers
My bed was simply a roll
The hard ground was something I was used to
I carried soft fur of a bear
On the top of my bag
Which I’d lay under my roll
To soften each night’s cold
My dream of a sheepskin
I had read about in books
Of old foreign herdsmen roaming
Highlands of Scotland
But I with my simple roll
Laid out on the ground.
When I saw it, I slowly pulled my arrow from its quiver
A practice as natural to me as walking
Without hesitation I had one full meal,
A warm meal that hadn’t been had in two days
My diet primarily consisted of berries and roots
So plentiful on this wild land
But frequently supplemented with unsuspecting small game.
Before my knife entered the belly of my meal
I thanked its Gods for their offering
For helping to sustain me on my journey
For helping to return the vigor into my body
So necessary for survival
And with every bite my heart and soul filled
With a return to this earth
And I was reborn again, new.
It is eerie the silence after a feast
Such powerful voices circling around
Escaping, collecting, gathering, burning
It’s like a dizzying kaleidoscope
Caught up in a whirlwind
Mixing with my own heart screaming so loud
I walked along in silence for quite some time
Thinking about the changing seasons
And the cold that wasn’t far behind.
It comes naturally for me as a human
To push on, push forth
Push to get to a destination known
But when I see my next camp for the night
I know it without hesitation
And sometimes it comes before
Warmth of midday sun has a chance
To burn its brightest spark
And I take off my pack, sit down crosslegged
And observe the land all around.
I learned long ago that land speaks to me,
It tells me what is behind that tree
And what is under that bush,
It shows me where to look
Before what I’m looking at is there
The land shows me how wind swirls
And leaves bend off of branches
It shows me the light tapping
Of two giants married by force
And light nutshells crackling as they fall
From heights stored in safety.
There is nothing else that is as perfect
As these moments of pure clarity
Yet behind every breath
Reins the loneliness such a journey entails
Which the heart never expects
But always knows is there
And I pulled in this deep sadness
With my breath as it flowed
Memories that showed me how to move
Like a teacher that had kind patience
As I sat as a pupil learning.
When I walk into an empty room
When I reach my palms for the sky
As essence, I’m a ghost
And sunrise brings tomorrow
With ten thousand spoons of sorrow.
I am a prophet in a rose
With two hands tied by thorns,
Fence posts painted white
Along dew kissed morning lawns.
When I sit amidst thousand year old trees
When I wave crookedly in heaven’s winds
My heart becomes a dead leaf
Integrating so effortlessly into a path
Dust to soil to earth to spring.
So long shall my stalk bend
Two ends of a hemp string crossed,
Seeds falling on gray wood
And harvest moon is my birth.
My eyes have become the blurry vision
Of what they once used to see,
Fading sunlight in a white-washed
The deck has become stained
With forgotten footsteps,
Leaving only smears
As marks on my mind.
And I delicately touch rough bark
Encircling our plum tree,
Tracing lines from hither to tither
Like the vision I once used to see.
As seed took its flight
From the palm of my hand
I felt a cloud
Receding from my heart,
Deep as I remain.
I knew what had been
Had come again to us
Not to tarry as long
But definitely sent
To help us on our way.
If you dared close your eyes
And listen to early summer breeze
There was, singing sweetly,
An apparition to remain.
Can you call me one more time
Like so many times before?
Can you share your wisdom
To help my youthful pride?
If I should waste another breath
I shall not hold my stride
That you so valiantly kept,
Like gale force winds
And secret glimchens
Upon your heart so clear.
Like every day that’s come again
You brought your soul divine
To bask in changing season
That always stopped to overtake.
You recognized that as a robin comes
A sparrow and bluejay shall too,
You knew that purple pansies grew
As humming bird feeders drew.
Your wind called out where we all heard,
Your wind amidst our sails,
Your peach upon our fruit trees,
Forever once again, in bloom.