The Redwood Grove

This was the first version of the poem, but I prefer the second, more imagist version.

 

I cross a wooden bridge to the grove.

Beneath the cowl of branches and leaves,

A dimming.

Quiet becomes more so.

My breathing slows.

Along the way, birds flit in the canopies,

As if signaling a path to be taken–

Too quick to be seen, and otherwise silent.

Soon, shafts of sunlight show the center,

Rood trees for a steeple house.

I pause before entering:

At my feet, one flung by an angel,

His broken verge stretching into murk.

Once inside, the center is almost a clearing,

A circle of trees profoundly mute,

Their ancient boles hallowed by fire.

I am brought to my knees looking upwards,

Looking upwards to a pinnacle

Where crowning meets the light,

In a speck of Eden preserved.

Is any human permitted witness?

I sense a commandment

Inscrutably inscribed

Into the bark of every tree.

As I bow my head,

My wisp of breath becomes a nothingness.

The border of a shadow-land surrounds me.

Unavoidably, it awaits.

 

August, 2008


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