Monday, July 4, 2022



So still, I can hear the timpani
of raindrops falling on salal,
almost detect the slimy progress
of the lowly slug, inching across
the forest trail.
The stillness here is audible: quiet
as a church, the rustling of leaves
akin to the sound of womens' gowns
as they stand and kneel
along the pews.

There be spirits here: an entire whale
that washed up years ago
lies under the forest floor, now covered
by several feet of blanketing green growth,
a land-locked being
imprinted with the sea.
I pause in reverence
at the silencing of its song.

The westerly blows in: treetops dance.
One looks like a clump of broccoli;
it sways and bends, perhaps
more like an ancient gentleman
practicing Tai Chi.

So many small sounds under the stillness,
when one shuts off thought, sound
and distraction and focuses to hear:
the sound of life, growing in its
many guises: creeping slug,
salmonberries ripening, murrelet
winging its way to its mossy nest,
a hummingbird's soft whir. The sound 
of my footfall snaps a twig,
and all creatures pause,
ears and leaves and branches
turned my way.

"I come in peace," I say,
and, more gently, now,
continue on my way.

for earthweal: Wild Stillness


  1. I love the gentle half-rhyme of 'a hummingbird's soft whir.' We should all tread lightly on earth's forest floor.

    By the way, I am sorry I missed your challenge last week: I have been suffering a bit of burn-out after publishing 'Wounds I Healed.'

  2. hi! I put your blog in my blog list (

  3. "the timpani/of raindrops falling on salal"...that's the west coast captured in a line...JIM

  4. What a wonderful poem Sherry. I felt like I was in the forest with you. The silence in the deep primordial forests is so profound. You capture it so well in your poem. Suzanne - Mapping Uncertainty - I just read your comment on my poem and wrote this in reply (I'll post it here because you might not see it otherwise). Hi Sherry, I’m glad you got the ley line connection. I went out to the area yesterday purposefully seeking a connection to the ley lines there. My poem came from that.
    I went to a similar whale dreaming ceremony to the one you write of. It was led by aboriginal elders a few years ago - 2013 from memory. It took place at key points around Australia at the same time. It was very powerful. At the ceremony I attended the elder opened up the song lines in south eastern Australia to connect with the other places where the ceremonies were being held. (northwest Australia, Alice Springs and Byron Bay were among the places he connected too.)

  5. Suzanne, how wonderful that you were present at the ceremony. I can only imagine how powerful the energy was there. This weekend, on Canada Day, the Tla-o-qui-aht people here raised the most beautiful totem pole. It was amazing.

  6. Stillness composes with ripened particulars, and you name them with care here. I love the forest growing from the whale's body, the magnitude of life rising from small motions and sounds one must take great care to notice. Lovely, lively stuff Sherry.

  7. So many of your pieces recently give me deep forest vibes. They remind me of growing up in the Carolinas and just running around in the woods where there was no one around for miles.

  8. You build this poem, and the feeling it holds like a spring, with detail and patience, as Nature herself does. I especially like the ".. ancient gentleman/practicing Tai Chi..." and the "small sounds under the stillness,/when one shuts off thought.. " something I find it very hard to do, but you show us just how here, Sherry.

  9. There is so much to hear in silence. This is a beautiful evocation, from start to finish.

  10. that was my comment above--I'm having trouble commenting on everyone's blogs these days.

  11. When one is still, one hears what is important....

  12. I love the underlying sounds in the stillness expressed in this wonderful, magical piece Sherry! The sense of reverent intrusion into the sacred was excellent. Great write.

  13. Such beautiful stillness here. Love the whale become forest and the attentive listening to detail.

  14. There is a fitting reverence in your words.

  15. So much peace in this poem. Thank you. I love the sound of the slug mingling wiuth the spirit of the whale mingled with she who is listening and wathing.


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