An Elegy of Leaves

Hours and hours,
and hours
into the woods-

through the rainfall,
the sunpierce,
the pine and spruce;
off the trail
of the acorn and ash,
of the prairie lily,
of light and water dancing
on needles and leaves;
past the hidden spring,
yawning cavern,
past limestone spires
and granite punctured
up from the heart of the earth;
in the forest and veldt
of the snake and the lark,
and the ram and the elk.

Your lungs are thirsty,
your heart, hungry,
your mind, tired- no?

And so we pass
into the land of the gods
of life and death.

But what else to be said?
What else,
as we tread perdition
through our doctrine of the night,
seeking a horizon reckoning?
What verdict given?

Shall I say,
“hold your sins & dreams
as you would your breath,
hold them now
until the coming dawn!”

?

No.
It is all ashen
and ground to dust.

Even if you cannot see
that the flame
I carry in my heart
could burn this place clear,
I still must lay it
before this living altar.

Listen.
Birds are singing in the thicket.

There is more music,
deeper in,
deeper still.
There hums a resonation.

What else, then?
What else to offer beyond this-
this sad
and staggering presumption
that I can somehow relay
this sanctification
to you
in words,
as though I have the skill,
and the right?

For I am no priest
and this place
has no need of one.

Here then-
let me lay down a permanence
for you,
and in full artistic grace,
describe instead
the peace
and eternity of this place:

I wish you were here.

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