Dear beloved ones,
I will return to the shores of Wickaninnish,
roiling in winter storm.
I shall come back to watch the morning break
against blue sky and rose-tinged puffy cloud,
to see all the creatures stir and waken,
and the day unfold.
I shall return to gaze in wonder,
at the end of day,
as the sun sinks, purple, azure, gold,
below the horizon,
and the skies become a masterpiece
painted by God.
I may return as a seabird,
still outside of the pack, observing,
still hobbling on the ground
and dreaming of the sky.
I'll pick a shell in my beak
and carry it off to my perch,
then drop it,
deep in the forest,
for a wanderer to find,
and marvel at, years hence.
Or I might be a sandpiper,
one of the flock,
lifting and turning together
as one body, at the edge of the sea.
How could my spirit not return
to the forests and rivers and ocean I love,
to catch my breath once more as the morning mist
drapes itself companionably across Lone Cone,
to behold once more her slopes turning deepest rose
in late afternoon?
The call of the murmurous, forever waves,
the smell of salt, kelp and seaweed,
ocean essence will draw me, as before,
to the beautiful shore.
I will return, once again young,
for the smell of peony
on soft-scented summer evenings,
for a shy, youthful kiss under weeping willow,
lake ripples lapping gently,
and all of life's hopes and dreams lying ahead,
all golden and shining.
I will return for apple blossoms,
and the smell of sage on hot, dusty hills
covered with yellow flowers.
The blue sky will draw me back
as it drew my gaze for all my many years,
as will the ancient trees, where restless spirits live,
their mournful song whispering secrets and wisdom -
urgent truth for us to hear and heed,
if we but listen.
I will return to see the ocean
come back to life again, abundant,
recovered from its slow dying,
after the plastic waste and dumping,
the polluting and the killing stops,
and all of its plants and creatures
stir back to life.
I will return to see
the clearcut mountains greening up,
bees and butterflies and wolves
abundant once again, and thriving,
as that earth we are dreaming about now
heals and comes back into being.
I will return, with joy,
at that awakening.
If I don't return in body,
I will return as raindrops on salal,
as moss on an old stump,
or old man's beard on cedar.
I will return
in wagging puppy-tails
and wise old elephant eyes,
or a grey whale, diving,
its fluted tail arching over and up,
then slipping down, down,
into the mysterious depths.
Watch the world with wonder,
Open your eyes to it all,
as I have these many years,
and you'll find me, never farther away
than the nearest beautiful thing.
This poem was inspired by some translated lines of a famous Bengali poet, Jibanananda Das, sent to me by Sumana. The poem was about returning home after death. I wrote this in May of 2016 and thought to revisit it today, with apologies for its length. In my poem, I meant this as a returning in another life, or as Soul, to the beauty of this earth I love so much. But I have been twice blessed, to have been granted a return in this lifetime to a beloved landscape. I walked the beach this morning, heart swelling with gratitude for this great blessing.
Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find fine folk and good reading of a Sunday morning.