Tag Archives: woods

Muir Woods, a poem

illustration muir woods

Muir Woods, a poem


The eye is drawn, farther and farther

toward thin blue sky until the green feathery


tops of the trees are like the northern pole

on some dream planet. Your carsickness


from the ride up the mountain begins to fade,

leaving behind a breathless, weepy echo


not unlike your first religious fervor.

Then, you stared at Jesus’ sad face for hours,


wondering what it was that made him

love you. Here, it is the usual paralysis,


nerves made dumb by the unaccustomed

richness of perfect light. Vague, starry eyes


like yours feel at home. The air is weighty,

burdensome, solemn. Tall and slender, your guide


touches your wrist, and for a moment, you too

want to leave the surface of the earth


forever. Shyly, she picks up a tiny

pinecone, smaller than a toy. You laugh


when she tells you this is their seed:

all around, their ravaged, hollow


corpses litter the ground

like the bones of God.


In this place you feel helpless,

childlike, and you can understand a wish


to die here, never leave this hush.

They’re only trees, you tell yourself.


Yes, only trees, you think, standing still with

your neck bent back; wondering if they hear you.



Filed under beauty, earth, eternity, god, good, mortality, mysterious, nature, soul, spirit, spiritual, truth, universe, wood

Under the Stars, a poem

illustration under the stars

Under the Stars

My daughter and I are in a tent. We’re sweaty and tired, trying to sleep. Her father & I divorced two years back. This is my daughter’s second camping trip without him. The first, last year, was a disaster… pelting rain & wet dogs, and the fiancé I ended up hating.

All this afternoon, other parents kept joking, Is it time to turn in yet? A lot of times I feel I’ve ruined her life. It’s been a long, long day — hiking, cooking, comforting children.  They are so excited to be in the woods until the sun goes down. Married or single, my misery remains about the same.

My stomach hurts, my beautiful daughter says. My head hurts. I can’t get comfy. Was it a bad idea to come here? Was it a bad idea to marry her father? A screech owl calls, breaking the quiet with startling beauty. Of course not. I have my daughter.  I just don’t ever want to be that miserable & that alone again.

What’s that? she says, scared. Her fears appear and disappear just like that owl’s voice.

Just an owl, I tell her. I’m not a good mother. She’s eight, she can’t stay awake forever.

That wasn’t so bad after all, my beautiful little girl says in the morning. I am the opposite.  I dream of peace but wake to fear.


Filed under poetry