Monday, August 26, 2013

In the Presence of the Sacred

This was written in 1999 as a Tofino writers' group exercise: what kind of tree would you be, if you were a tree? I chose the Hanging Garden Tree, on the Tall Tree Trail on Meares Island. Many life forms grow upon its branches. As a single mother of four, grandmother of four, I could relate to this tree:) The title could also be a response to Jerry Mander's In the Absence of the Sacred. The air in that forest was more holy than any cathedral.

Some of you have read this before, but it popped into my head this morning and I decided to give it another shot........posted for open link at Real Toads

I am Hanging Garden Tree,
my thick trunk hosting
an abundance of life forms,
diverse and vital;
garlanded with root and vine,
with fern and flower,
a universe
within my leafy bower.

I am home to Sky Creatures,
all the winged ones,
Owl and skyhawk,
Murrulet and swallow;
small furry-pawed ones
dart among my branches
and nestle soft within my sleepy hollows.

A thousand fern fronds
drape fringed shawls
along my shoulders,
soft moss, green lichen
and fat mushroom clinging,
climbing vine that wraps itself around me
and, in my hair,
a hundred sparrows, singing.

Myriad insect worlds
I tend and harbor.
I shelter bear and wolf,
am food for deer.
To all Two-Leggeds
who come before me, seeking,
I offer peace
within my
silent arbor.

Young Standing People
upon my branches grow.
They came through me,
nurtured the best I know.
Roots fattened
with the seasons
of my living,
they stretch beyond my reach now,
one by one,
as I support
their separate struggle
towards the sun.

In this the season
of my deep reflection
I'm tired now;
I have endured an age.
At dusk,
Sky Woman comes
serene and sage
to scatter stars
about my weary head,
while Sister Moon
sends me
such perfect dreams
I'm spirit-fed
and morning comes
too soon.

In this grove
we're in
the presence of the sacred:
feeling our shared breath,
tenancy of earth and sky,
to all the Four Directions
by the Love
to which we all belong,
under the grace
of a Celestial Eye,
all singers
of a universal song.

Have a great day, kids. Remember to Keep Looking Up!


  1. I love trees. I was drawn to the Ents in Tolkien's work "The Lord of the Rings." Your poem is lovely!

  2. Sherry,
    This is so beautiful. I can envision you as a strong, wise tree. Love the title too!

  3. A lovely piece of writing, Sherry.

    I was working in the offices of a very large company over the weekend, and in the lobby was one of those 'living walls'. It was enormous and incredibly beautiful. Your poem reminded me of it.

  4. Wonderful Sherry. Love the whole idea of the Mother Tree.

  5. For anyone who has read this before, it is like coming back to the tree itself, seeing it again with new eyes, marveling at its role in the heart of the forest, thanking it for its role in the life of the planet.

  6. "garlanded with root and vine,
    with fern and flower,
    a universe
    within my leafy bower." this would have been enough Sherry, and then line after line beauty grows more fully "In this grove
    we're in
    the presence of the sacred:
    feeling our shared breath," ahhh one, one, we are all one.

  7. Quite a powerful poem...In this the season
    of my deep reflection
    I'm tired now
    I have endured an age.

  8. Good choice, Sherry--of poem for today and of the tree you are. You didn't have grandkids in 1999, did you? Those life sustaining trees have very long lives, and are never bored, really not. The air around them is holy to breath and peaceful to bask in.

  9. Upon your branches I have grown- beyond my forest and onto the wild plateau.

  10. beautiful painting in your words... I do like the winged ones

  11. Stardreaming
    Hard to beat that with
    My poet's coined galaxy of words

  12. For therein we
    Are one with stars and
    Boughs and butterflies...

  13. You really got inside of that Hanging Garden tree, home to so many other living things. Just beautiful.

  14. One of my favorites! I love the birds in your hair ;D You are a gorgeous tree~

  15. "and in my hair, a hundred sparrows singing"
    how lovely this tree, she who offers shelter and inspiration

  16. A lovely poem to start my day, Koko. Last stanza is so powerful and two things I picked 'INTERCONNECTEDNESS' and the image of the celestial eye.

  17. This is so beautiful Sherry. It makes me want to go visit a forest. I've been thinking of doing that lately. I miss my feed from nature. There's nothing like it.

  18. This is so beautiful is so you!!

  19. love the sky creatures and sky woman. the ending sings, so softly nested...

  20. Of all the living beings on earth, trees are the most divine, they sacrifice their each and every part.

  21. It's hard not to be spiritual when talking about (or being) a tree.

  22. A lovely meditation, that passes its peace and wisdom. To the reader. Thanks. K.

  23. "Sky Woman comes
    serene and sage
    to scatter stars
    about my weary head,
    while Sister Moon
    sends me
    such perfect dreams"

    ...what a loving image this is!


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!