Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spirit of the Forest

There is nothing here,
Light and shadows of leaves,
and stillness.
Even the birds are silent now,
as if waiting 
for something to pass.
There is nothing here,

You who walk here,
this is what you tell yourself,
what you would have yourself believe.
Why, then, does your step quicken
towards the light at the forest’s edge?
Why, then, do you no longer 
glance behind 
as you tread the carpet of leaves?

Have you so distanced yourself
from my world
that my body has become a thing
of revulsion to you,
something that you would prefer 
not to see?
How, then, do you imagine me?
Brown mould-face, 
tangled twig-hair,
cracked bark-flesh?

Look now, right behind you,
if you dare.
For only by daring to look,
will you see how beautiful I am.

Look, look now!

Perhaps there is nothing here,
Just light,
and shadows of leaves,
and stillness.

Dryad  by  Mike Nash


  1. The poem evokes memories of my hikes through the mountain forests in western Japan. Often I would sometimes stop and look at the trees and plants around me, and stand in stillness to take in the beauty of the forest. In this stillness I felt the rich aliveness of the trees, the undergrowth, and even the soil. I listened intently to the forest and attempted to hear even the slightest of sounds. Sometimes there was only silence. I found the act of deep listening quieted the mind and the heart. In this silence I became more aware of not only my own inner presence but also the presence of life around me. The person in the poem who is walking through the forest, however, believes “there is nothing here.” This reminds me many who live mostly in the head, completely enveloped in their thinking. The intellectual mind wishes to label, judge, compare, analyze and categorize. Certainly there is a place and value to thinking but to truly feel our connection to life, and in this case the forest, one needs to temporarily set the mind aside. By truly looking and listening in the very moment of aliveness, which is the present moment, we can sometimes remove the blinders to our perception and suddenly see the beauty around us. Emma writes,
    Look now, right behind you,
    if you dare.
    For only by daring to look,
    will you see how beautiful I am.”
    Thank you Emma for daring us to really look and see the beauty that is around us!

  2. I love the personal touch in your comment, Joseph, and I love your courageous heart...
    thank you!