16 June 2022

Heeding the Messengers' Promise


"You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."*


When I lose my way and forget

how to access earth’s wild music

in this changing world—lose my

song—poets are my nature guides:

Mary’s trees say to “stay awhile.” 

Wendell enters “the peace of wild things.”

Gerard finds “nature is never spent.”

Walt and Emily and David

and more find God in the details

or find nature itself enough.


And then begins my journey back from Hell. 

Orpheus and Eurydice at once,

I seek confidence, seek sense memories

as companions, and seek stories as songs

till I hear wild life zinging, and can step

away from careless-ness and sorrow.

Invites come from all directions, but to

steady myself, I gravitate toward

bright beings, to songs that demand nothing

but give simply by being alive and strong:


Touch and lean on the sycamore

dressed in white bark and spreading branches,

the birch in slender crowds of gold

reaching to the blue sky in leafy frames.

Feel loose stone under old dry leaf

below, both on a foundation

of slate cliff edge and moist brown earth.

Stand still to watch the chipmunk play,

to listen to birds call, flicker, and rush

the wind.  I greet them in my first song.


I stay awhile, until the light in me

grows strong, until peace slows my breath,

until I know again—like falling in love—

that I’m home in creation and renewed

until next time I’ve drifted too far and

begin to drown, begin to gag, think of

quitting, until by chance I pick up the poems

of the messengers singing their promise

to heal (without eliminating pain),

to remind humans of earth's wild music.

Posted for earthweal weekly challenge: EARTH’S WILD MUSIC

*The quote is from Wild Geese by Mary Oliver accompanied by artist Anna Chromy's ALONE (lovers on an island).  I will document the other poets later (smile).

My blog poems are rough drafts.  

Please respect my copyright. 

 © 2022 Susan L. Chast



Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a joy it is to read this poem. One of your finest, Susan, my new favourite, and I am so happy you wrote about earth's wild music. Sigh. This is just lovely. You made my day.

Susan said...

Oh my! thank you, Sherry!

Kerfe said...

What a beautiful healing journey.

Rajani said...

Nature and poetry.. how else to make the "journey back from hell.."... It's beautiful how lines and verses and little loose stones and the feel of bark can be so healing. Love this one!

Truedessa said...

This is a wondrous poem filled with grace and wisdom. The birch trees and chipmunks are a part of nature's songs. Truly beautiful.

Brendan said...

It's a spiritual discipline, this finding our way back to the center emanating from the inner identity of the outer world. Our masters of verse reawaken the sense, but it up to us get close and closer to it in our walking songs from Hell to here. Your path is joyously familiar and reawakens me to walk along. Thanks so.