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~ By Courtesy of Others ~


The Return

Once came an image of a great lush tree
Once spread its branches across worlds and souls
I saw it before I was born.

Once came its children, busy and wild
I played with them in short bright days and long starry nights
As a boy, I knew them
As a youth, I walked with them

Then as I wended across clear grass fields,
I came to a hill crest, not thinking to find anything
Older was I, and thinking was wiser,
I mounted the hill top
And took in that clear eyed sight
Which maturity had granted of mind.

A slow breeze wafted across the grass
To give small company to what lie in the center.

A tree stump it was, humble and low.
Chopped down
A thousand years ago.

Sap dripped down, like long-dried tears, staining
Stale wood, riven with decay, as if gnawed to the bone
By rot and centuries
And derision
And arrogance
And conquerors
And apathy.

I knelt by the stump, curious.
From whence came this thing?
Alone in a long forgotten field, far from the cities
Far from metal, and gears, and endless wires,
Far from machines, walls, and plastic spires

This funny thing, a humble lump.
Resting in the unplowed wilds.

Yet its wood felt smooth and smelled sweet.
And as I touched it, I noticed branches splayed on the other side
Sprouting flowers
It seemed this thing had not quite died.

Its roots clove deep, I thought, as my mind wandered back
To the roar and the spinning of life’s racing around
Blind to these fields I sat in now.
It came to me that those roots grew elsewhere, channeled through the earth
In hidden paths
All of which came back to the source before me.

All about the world grew the roots of this tree
Its fingers stretched far and wide.
But where they came from most did not know, as I learned
It seemed this thing had not quite died.

Though the tree had been shorn, its raiments no longer worn
When I rose I noticed others sat puzzling as I had before
Their faces quizzical over this long mangled tree stump
They looked at me, and wondered.

What brought us here? How did we find it?
Surely I do not know, nor did they.

But just then I heard
Behind me, a word.

I turned and found many who followed I’d not noticed before.
A great crowd of twenty-four.
Among them old friends I’d known as a child—but didn’t know later
Their faces I remembered, but their names unfamiliar
To the older, wiser man I thought I was.

A great warrior, with one hand I met,
His face stern but kind, his might well controlled.
Another saw I, whose strength was unmatched,
He guarded fields with his hammer true and thought deep every night.
But a goddess came first, ancient and smiling,
Dark as her earth, bountiful as the world.

And another came after, her necklace gleaming
Teaching me the language of my long lost Other
Who had been locked away as if for centuries
Now sensing and feeling the soil-loving roots,
As they pulsed with power
And longed for more.

Her brother came also, a man great and lordly,
Wreathed in green, his antlers shining,
Peace surrounded him, and all that is virile and growing
As well as good fellowship, and long shining bounty.
I knew him as a brother in ages long past.

But last came the greatest, the one deepest known
A tall bearded man, with wolf and raven owned.
His one eye saw farthest, the other fathomed in
His paths ranged beyond any cities or fields,
To the wildest stretches of the unknown.
Ever did I know him.

He took my hand and said,
“Welcome home.”

© Erik Goodwyn

Erik Goodwyn´s Webpage

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