Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Here / Not Here


Seekers journey far and wide, in search
of an Otherworld, more glorious than this,
an underwater world, perhaps,
where seals slip off their skins and become
beautiful maidens on land, but with hearts
forever bound to the sea.

(I read once that shamans know of a world
that mirrors ours, perhaps existing
upside down under our feet,
or above us in the sky, in some
unexplored dimension where only
the initiated fly.)

There is an Island of Women somewhere
that I'd like to see. I imagine a place
plentiful and green, where elves
sing softly on the forest's floor,
decisions are made in consensus,
and patriarchal rule is taught as
an aberration in history, along with
racism and war, 
concepts which can scarcely
be believed, by its citizens,
so highly evolved are they
and peace so dear.
O, we can dream, we poets,
that such a place exists, or that
we might transform ourselves
and thus create it here.

(Once I stepped onto a tiny island
in the middle of a lake, following
trails small gentle creatures' paws
and hooves had made. 
On the branch of an old tree, a perfect
hummingbird's nest, two tiny eggs
awaiting their time to come alive;
it's a wonder how such fragile life

So when my thoughts turn to a place
of myth and mystery, and more,
I am reminded by the world before my eyes
that mystical beauty lives right here:
in forest glen, along the shore,
in clouds and sky,  on jagged mountain peaks.
Around us lies all the truth and beauty
we weary pilgrims seek.

(I look up from my desk to see an eagle 
circling heaven's floor.
I could travel all the world
and not find anything that lifted
my heart more.)

When we stand at the edge of the sea
and hear the waves' eternal song,
or pace an old growth forest
where all wild things belong,
we see the scope of what this earth could be
if humankind set our dreams
and imaginations free.

This was sparked by Brendan's wonderful essay at earthweal which is so worth reading. He bids us explore a Voyage to the Otherworld. I remind myself that, amongst all the bad news, there are heroes: front line workers trying to save lives, land defenders blockading old growth forests from being cut, people working to save wild salmon and whales. People doing what we can, where we are - which includes writing poems. I am too earthbound to want to  travel to the Otherworld. But I sure enjoyed contemplating it and reading Brendan's awesome essay.


  1. Oh, I think an Island of Women would be quite fine....with decisions being made by consensus would be a wonderful change. So much could be better if "humankind set our dreams and imaginations free."

  2. 'and patriarchal rule is taught as
    an aberration in history, along with
    racism and war, '
    - what a wonderful and enlightened idea Sherry. The patriarchs are making a right royal mess of the world at this moment, aren't they? Time to move over, I say! I very much enjoyed your poem.

  3. This poem slips in and out of worlds as smooth as seal in the water. I love how the stanzas in parenthesis are rooted in the perfect almost otherworldly beauty of this world brought to life for us by your experience of it.

  4. Once more, your poetry transports me, yet it is also so concretely linked to the nature around you.

  5. Beautiful. You visit all the places in the breviary. What I can't figure out about that Land of Women is that it was ruled by a king. The "woman" part must not have been sexual but a matriarchy perhaps.

  6. A beautiful exploration Sherry and I love how your fabulous natural surroundings are both an anchor and a runway for journeying into the otherworld xxx

  7. a lovely place, your otherworld ~

  8. I often dreamed of being a mermaid or selkie, Sherry, slipping off tail or skin to become a beautiful maiden on land, with my heart bound to the sea. But given half the chance, I would move to an Island of Women, where ‘patriarchal rule is taught as an aberration in history, along with racism and war’.
    Apparently, in Kenya, where Samburu women are subordinate and not allowed to own land or other types of property, and are considered property of their husbands, subject to female genital mutilation, forced marriage, rape and domestic violence, many were abandoned by their husbands, so they created Umoja, a village for women, in 1990. This is just one example of matriarchal societies that exist around the world.

  9. There is an Island of Women somewhere that I'd like to see ~~~ where I'd like to be! Brava Sherry.

  10. So true. The other world is the world we don't see right in front of it. We could make it real.


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