Eye of the Storm

The old branches
Wrapped in moss
Crackle beneath our feet
As we venture into the forest

Everywhere we step
The green blades of bluebells
Beneath the pines and larch
And in the sacred places
The smaller, fresh green leaves
Of the sacred wood sorrel - almost clover leaves,

But three fresh green
Heart shaped leaves
With the most delicate
White flowers
Five petals
And a heart of gold
Like pixie hats.

Thank you angel
For coming to my door
And calling me to quest
The spring forest
And golden evening

Thank you angel
For blessing
My secret sacred places
With your gentle smile
And deepest calm

We followed the old road first
Rare treat to walk
The soft track
Where the mud of weeks
Had dried enough
To be firm but soft
To each footfall

But then to the secret ways
That were revealed
To me years ago
In days of deeper sadness
Through the kinder wire fence
We trespassed
Into holy ground once again
Beneath the high larches
Along the half trod path
To the denser glades
Of younger trees

A left and right
Beneath the teenage pines
Short but dark
A path we made our own
Then into another space
Of taller, older trees
And there to share with you
Yesterday's sacred place
Low cut pine stump
With the precious flowers
Around our feet.

I valued your trust
As I led you left and right
Along feint forest paths
Dipping down
Into deeper vales between
More older, darker trees
To the woodman's hut
Now just a shambles
Of rotting wooden boards
Beside a coppiced hazel.

You have only my word
For the memory
Of that old shed
With iron stove
And oil cans on the floor
From a different age
When the pines around us
Were short as Christmas trees

A little down the track
A turn right up a short steep path
You stopped exactly where I stopped
Weeks ago
In a deeper lonely twilight
And lit a flame
That brought hope
To the silent winter forest
But could have been conflagration
To the same space
On a dust dry summer evening

The special place
Was nearer now
Never sure of the way
But new paths opened
At our feet
Rich in grass and moss
And occasional rarest violets.

The marsh stank
So we crossed on the old log
And through the fence
To the feet
Of the greatest trees
in the forest

Two hurricane torn beeches
From total destruction
By the shallow valley
Where they have dwelled
A century or two.

And there we paused
Each for our own

You heard the birds first
From the older woods
Around us now.

The woodlice
Did not complain
As they let me share
Their rotting log

Already in heaven
Beneath closed eyes
I held the bird-song
And your calmness
Twenty feet away
And sent it winging
On the spirit wind ~
To four corners of the earth

Perhaps far away
In a war torn church
In Bethlehem
The fugitives
Heard the singing of our birds
Between the hammer of the guns.

Perhaps far away
Two prime ministers
A president
And head of state
Were rudely interrupted
By the feint echo
Of birdsong
In a Surrey wood
At twilight

We will never know
But the cause is good.
And so we back-tracked
Through the friendly forest
Blessed by the gentle, caring
Passing of an angel
To clearer paths
And back
To the public path
Between hoof-prints
And firmer ground.

Our quest not quite done
As we retraced our steps
I hunted the spring scent for you
And we found it
Feint haze of blackthorn
Like musk across the track

And so to our return
As dusk lit the evening stars
Fair trade dear friend
The deepest calm
On the eve
Of a day of destruction
And the healthy stirring
Of blood in my ageing limbs

More? Oh yes,
Far more where these come from
Next joy
To share them with you
In the magic dawn.

Afon Claerwen
3rd April 2002

Eye of the storm?
- because we shared such calm
As the distant world boils
Unimaginably far beyond the
Misty horizon, ridge after tree capped ridge
each as calm as ours
fading into the dusk

page updated 23 Nov 2003

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