Deanna West

Rookie (October 20,1974)

The Traveler - Poem by Deanna West

Alone in a corner
Of an endless field,
An ancient and wise
Sleeping tree stood-

Her gnarled arms
Embracing the world with all her wisdom
Beckoned the unborn generations-

She dropped her seed among the fertile soil
Of her chosen, forgotten forest
And without breath,
With quickened pace,
Wind carried her seeds
Giving birth to history and time-

A weary traveler,
Lips dull and parched,
Soul dry and thirsting,
Took respite upon an inviting rock
Beneath her comforting shade-

Shoulders drooped, spirit burdened,
The Traveler began to weep.
Such mourning, such pain, such lamentation
Neither Wind nor Tree had felt-

Wind settled on the Traveler's shoulder,
Gently brushing moss and leaves
Waking the Mother Tree and all of Nature's audience-
She grazed her cool, misty fingertips across the tired brow
Lovingly sighing in yearning ears-

'Sleep, sweet child, sleep
And hear the Spirit of Peace.
Close your eyes, calm your breath
And know your pain
Is not single unto you.'

Fears subsided, Flesh subdued,
Spirit was awake and listening-

'Child of Flesh, hear my rustlings,
Look into my core-
Every ring is a lesson learned,
A dream realized, a dream forgotten,
A fire survived, a storm weathered,
A cold steel blade defeated.

'My seeds are given for you to feast upon,
To admire or despise,
To save or devour.
Wind takes them from me and carries them far
None knowing who I am.

'You are a seed with that same purpose,
A beginning and an end.
What you do in between are YOUR rings,
YOUR story,
YOUR victories, YOUR defeats.

'Will you give up so easily?
Will you become a lifeless stump?
Or will you let Wind perform her function
And carry you hither, to and fro,
Seeing every Dawn and every Sunset,
Hearing every bird, every song,
Embracing every Life, mourning every death,
Until She finds the very soil that is YOURS?

'Yours to take root in.
Yours to smell, to feel, to taste, to touch
With all the world around for you to hear.
Will you allow your roots a firm foundation,
Spread your arms and let Life take flight?

'I am old, gnarled, tucked away-
Yet I am poised, tall and proud.
My seeds are a piece of me and I know every one.
Please, my child, awake.
Awake and rise anew.

'Wipe your tears and open your eyes.
I have adopted you and you are mine.
You are a very precious seed, indeed
And have so much flourishing to do.'

The Traveler awoke,
Confused, yet unexpectedly refreshed.
Looking up at the tree
Moss seemed clean, bark smoother than before.
Every bough appeared less twisted
And the Wind...
The Wind was wild with anticipation.

The Traveler was no longer parched.
The Soul was no longer empty.
The Burden was so much lighter.
The Pain was now so trivial.

Fresh, new tears appeared
Flowing like summer rain-

'Thank you Mother. Thank you Wind.
I think my Wings need to fly.'

With Lyrical contributions from Laura Patterson

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 26, 2010

Poem Edited: Thursday, August 26, 2010

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