Forest Spirit

Forest Spirit

Many selves,
a raging fire, a sparkling chasm.
viper slithers to its apogee – the sun –
almost succeeds, almost destroys –
I am justified in brevity, breathing
as I, come face to face,
and so it is – angry souls in each other’s bodies –
while August burns treacherously
in the dry grasses.

Boy leaves tracks. Life trudges.
Brooding, endorsing the searing sun,
Can’t close the seed captured here,
die brother…live sister….
no distress or bitterness or revenge –
merely randomness that
divides itself unmercifully

Fondling a flower, I found a grub beneath,
how do they survive?
I join the breeze’s circus train of leaves.
I link so easily to the best of hidden roots.
I waylay my memory in a crack in the earth.
In cerulean hill stadia,
in the russet rise of my face,
always thereabouts and whistling.

It is not forever. It only appears that way.
Light was a spike in the gorge
Likewise, the green and white vine-braced dales.
liquids dry without favor.
Long ago, buried in a seed, now popped like a question –
my revolutions amassed into night life history,
the wholeness of my likeness.
as, on dark earth, my tongue beats like a drum.
out of the mouth un-joined
like quadruplets reciting into each other’s mind…
regard the likeness,
shudder the shared brainwaves.

So I am spun around, turned inside and out,
steal a grub before its butterfly moment,
such hammering and darkest blustering,
that bloomed in every spruce and alder,
that mimicked twisting the throat
of the missing half
or the one, two-faced.

White-ash shadows stretch my body,
yield conviction to one vital truth –
common memory is a sour concoction.
To return all of its butterflies
is begrudging work,
under much close scrutiny of wildlife.
What mirages do I see? What waterfalls?
What natures are mere shadows of themselves?
Where the pine tree parts the wind,
why do I always come back here?
With the taunt of centuries to come?
With the twelve inveterate integrals of time?


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. His latest book, Leaves On Pages is available through Amazon.

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