Thoreau’s Shoulder (The Grove)

“Chaos and ancient night, I come no spy with purpose to explore or to disturb the secrets of your realm, but as my way lies through your spacious empire up to light”. – Henry David Thoreau

You wrote increasingly of the earth as if she were a mix of your judge and mother, and you spared no lack of fond adjectives in describing her both in bearable and tempering terms. You often scolded your own thoughts spoken before your ink donned the paper, whispering aloud, “the cove bends around the grove, before the grandfatherly Red Maple, or it does not”. At times, you muttered secrets, which we shall not tell here, except to say, “If man’s thoughts could be round like the stand then perhaps he would be less judgmental”. Your discourse aloud and in the written word explored heavy mysteries discovered upon the warm nights and thought out better when the winter was cold, and no sound could be heard, except that of the crackling fire.

My eyes grew bleary on occasion watching your quill move swiftly like a rapier cross cutting its way through battle. When perchance a hint of mysticism or witchery would catch your observance, you were quick to shame it in the scuffle you held for balanced thought. Your subject matter on civil discourse and that of disobedience, once carried a debate against yourself for an amount of some days. It was upon that occasion, I first heard your mention of madness, and I wondered if for that certain time, you might entertain talk of what confidences you thought might be in the circular grove.

You often brought to your tight cabin, assortments of leaves, pebbles and berries. In which each by fair lantern light you would caress tenderly, saying each by its organic name and what blessing it might bring as cure or spell from evil. For each gathered collection of abundance from the forest or pond, you would meditate well upon it, before committing its designation to publish. For when you wrote of it, you disguised each magical quality it contained, as a naturalist does when face to face with that which cannot be explained.

Your forays to the grove grew with more frequency before September in one year, and I would suspect now, it was your last one before leaving. It was beyond my ability to cross over there, but it was on such an occasion, near sunrise as you left the wood that you appeared to see me standing there. “You are either an external shadow, or I am internally with flame“, you whispered aloud, as if interfering with some magic happening within your round of trees. There was little more as you went on to the cabin, and I was with you, silent for the rest of the day. That night as you left for your faithful journey to that round of mystery below “Bare Peak“, you suddenly turned outside your door and rubbed your right shoulder, as if it bore a special pain. “I think we should go no further”, was all you had to say, and with that I found myself drifting without right, silently toward the grove and away. – 09.15.2018 – דָּנִיֵּאל

The Canyon by Night


Photo courtesy National Park Service Bryce Canyon

From we to I and back to me. I entered this canyon at night to see, what Henry David Thoreau, wrote by his hand freely. His words rang through my memory. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”.

Draw breath from here this spring filled life, by flowing river so wild in tide that moves from rock and drowns some too. Thin air that forces a mind of good. Take now thy fault that has grown so cold that guilty conscience of seeds so old, and throw it forward beneath this wash, let foamy waters take now it all. Come forward sky; drop now Gibbous Moon, let sounds nearby now vanish soon. Bring forth the ghost that hold my soul, let them drown knowing I gave them all. Let sin go now beneath my feet in this crazy water on to the sea. Old things made new, from what can be, arise in gladness, harmony.

Impale the blame that holds defeat, O tall slender pines these spikes of trees. That gather branches held in three’s, that root this canyon from all unseen. This eco-system overgrown holds spells of craft of old-time dreams, of spirits gone beyond our view, a sudden chill passes understood. For what is called from up above these rocky walls, echoes align, to bring this man by this cold stream, to swear to cleanse, and know the sheen. Thou shine above from that cold moon, Shekinah earth of lower womb, and cast my way into this stream, let all creation of creator sing. About me here where deer would stay, comes flowing ribbons in G_Ds own name. For night has come it is understood, I summon circles for what I would.

Draw breath from here this spring filled life; a baptized man would dry his eyes. For magic comes with what we do, in streams of old, in modern woods. To let go pain in canyons deep, to rise to G_D whom with we speak. From we to I and back to me, the womb of canyon the ark I seek. So, through a pathway over grown, I walked in June to find my home. I followed down by rocks and trees, while unseen spirits guarded me.

From we to I and back to me. I entered this canyon at night to see, what Henry David Thoreau, wrote by his hand freely. His words rang through my memory. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”. – 06.06.2018 – דָנִיֵּאל

Walden (Woods of Zion)


I thought I was twenty, I was nine, when I set my sights on woods of Zion. I took Excalibur, a three inch blade and went to make myself a day. In the woods a wild wood trail, by a creek down near a vale, I found a fossil an ancient shell, that spoke of oceans within the dell, an ark of time hid for me, a code of Noah by my feet. In a secret, by the glen, down a path that never ends, by a pond that revealed my soul, reflected wonder I lost control, there in moss of mountains old, came an element that took control. Its wind of shelter bore a craft, of greater wisdom then I had, had.

Down the well, of dirt and stone, in red clay I went alone, thought of ghost, my danger wild, a fate delivered, a risen child. By the Elm I cut my arm, tasted sun in grace and charm, found a mill stone of ancient clans, touched its surface, it froze my hand. A strange occurrence in Ozark heat, what made it cold, and incomplete? When in doubt, I climbed a tree, saw a snapper beneath my seat, it moved so slow, within its shell, its place in nature made stories tell. I bet it lived there before the trees, when by the pond there was a sea, I bet it cried unto the deep, send a young boy to rescue me. Eventide it brought me back, a boy encountered by what he lacked. My countenance shining in mud and lore, brought on by secrets at natures core.

Henry David, did you see, G-D, in your woodland, a deity? Were there shells born on the leaves, were their turtles that made you believe? Did you see the eyes of one, buried deep beneath your pond? Were there mill stones that had no heat, when you touched them what did you seek? There in Walden you must have smiled, knowing someday, a child would find, in the Ozarks, a glen so deep, a precious Walden a heart would reap. I thought I was twenty, I was nine, when I set my sights on woods of Zion. – 06.24.2014 – דָּנִיֵּאל