Saturday, July 11, 2015

IN THE PRESENCE OF THE SACRED



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, murrelet 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,
interconnected 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.


This was written as a Tofino writers' group exercise in July, 1999 : 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 air in that forest felt more sacred than in any cathedral.

The title could be a response to Jerry Mander's In the Absence of the Sacred, his book on how technology has impacted the world. 

Posted for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find some wonderful reading on Sunday morning. 

36 comments:

  1. you are truly That Sherry...we would hear the same words from these life giving souls if we could lend our ears to them...

    ReplyDelete
  2. "spirit fed"...fantastic piece!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your poem is so beautiful. I would be a baobab. :-)

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That next to last stanza . . . breathtaking!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow. I bet it does feel like a sacred grove. Working and living together, off each other. Pretty cool to think what tree you might be as well. I would have to give it some thought, but I think it would have to be pliable enough to bend in the wind - and stand back up.

    ReplyDelete
  6. For poetic inspiration, Nature never fails us! You speak well for / as the tree.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Could be the entire earth! One tree does sol very much. What detail!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ah, I feel 'in the presence of the sacred' as I breadths poem, Sherry!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Truly makes you/me feel at one with the earth.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is so beautiful and such an example to all creatures (humans especially) about co-existence.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I could feel your presence in that tree from trunk to the tips of the leaves..soft, kind, nurturing and strong xo

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful word play, some entirely new to Hank but very poetic to hear their use! Great write Sherry!

    Hank

    ReplyDelete
  13. 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.

    I can imagine well, you being this beautiful tree.. as it contains all the attributes which your kind soul possesses. Beautifully penned!

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

    ReplyDelete
  14. a creative theme which brought out the best!

    ReplyDelete
  15. "I'm spirit-fed"... loved the image this line created.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a wonderful image of a tree. It's a home for so many living thing, and even when it's dead there is life... A tree, a universe.

    ReplyDelete
  17. so lovely we are a part of nature and we should all care for it

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm bathing in the image of stars being scattered around a weary head. Wish someone would do that for me! ;)

    Twice-Told Tales

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sherry - it is places like this that feel like sacred grounds. You can feel the spirit in the trees as you listen to the songs of nature. A tree offers so much to the natural world..I have always said I would be a willow tree..it is flexible and can bend during hard times..yet it weeps for the world..

    Have a lovely day my friend...

    ReplyDelete
  20. A very uplifting read this morning Sherry ~ We should take lessons from nature and her creatures - connected, our spirit sings the same universal song ~

    ReplyDelete
  21. The tree sounds magical & mystical the way you described it ~ sacred indeed. And a perfect choice for you, Sherry ~ you definitely have the same qualities as the tree of strength, nurturing & kindness :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. luv the questions, annswers and the personification of this piece

    have a nice Sunday Sherry

    much love...

    ReplyDelete
  23. i love how this works on so many levels

    ReplyDelete
  24. 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."....Fabulous...soulful.. love it, Sherry.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have read this before. As a self-defined sister to trees, it makes me sigh with soft acceptance. Recently read an article about how trees send out their roots criss-crossing one another and sharing nurture with each other. You and I are sisters of another kind.Both of us rooted in far away places, yet we reach out and share sustenance and nurture. Thank you, my friend.

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  26. Sherry I went on a hike this past week in a forest and thought of you. The trees the young sprigs of fern and the stair steps of long ago fallen tree trunks. So much life happens in nature you really can't blink. Your roots grow deep in the loamy forest floor.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hey Sherry,
    I felt a familiar connection to nature as I read your poem here. It was a lovely spiritual feeling.

    ReplyDelete
  28. The tree can be a wonderful friend and confidant. Finding a special tree for the spirit gives strength and a sense of peace, a sense of quiet identitiy. Beautiful poem.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sherry I felt at one in this place with this tree....a beautiful poem honoring this tree and you....I especially loved the vision these words conjured...

    'At dusk, Sky Woman comes,
    serene and sage,
    to scatter stars about my weary head,
    while Sister Moon sends me
    such perfect dreams'

    Bliss!

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is beautiful, Sherry. I love the way you became the tree. The fine details of the piece are exquisite ... but, beyond that, the work in its totality is spectacular.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wow. It's amazing how you can KNOW that tree, by becoming it. This is lovely Sherry. I never belonged to a group that encouraged creativity like this. You wrote beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Beautiful bromeliad tale. A universe in a tree and the life it sustains.

    ReplyDelete
  33. i used to wish to be an oak but they break apart in heavy storms. then i saw how palm trees sway and bend even amids hurricanes and storms then straighten once again after the storms.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Beautiful...yes, we do sing the universal song, humming incessantly in our hearts.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I love the idea of the moon sending dreams. :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. pretty interesting... And really nice!

    ReplyDelete

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