Its outer contours I know well,
though altered by time and infirmity.
It is the inner landscape I turn to now.
Intending to roam the fertile
convolutions of mind, I find
only the fury and anguish
of overharvested terrain.
I listen for the faint breath
of muscle, nerve and bone,
bare scaffolding of being.
Deeper still I open
in welcome for whatever
wildness needs to emerge—
green shoots from the severed roots of history,
the heady scent of newborn hope,
the patient spores of species
Darwin never imagined.
When I think about joy,
where I have known it in my life,
what I remember are moments
when the illusion of separateness dissolves
between myself and any part of Creation,
when fear and haste leave me long enough
to be held by the song of a sparrow,
the canopy of trees, the arms,
or paws, or presence of another being,
to see into the universe through a starry sky
or the eye of a wild creature,
to be surprised by laughter—unexpected grace,
to slip into place,
for a moment,
into the joy of Oneness.
Small, loaved heads rise with mythic grace
as the earth parts to reveal
delicate caps of sepia, tan
and eggshell, elegant and silken
or stiff and roughly fluted.
In a dew-lapped field two caps appear
half risen edgewise, the larger curved
protectively above the smaller
like a humpback whale and her calf
arcing from the sea in holy synchrony.
Slowly they edge their way into morning,
fruit of the earth perched on silent stems,
till, sodden or sun-bronzed and crisped,
they disappear once more into the dewy depths