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Some Earth Poems and Songs   by Julia Woodman  

Long Green Love of the World

(from the book "Spirit Songs")

Fish, butterflies,
You are fingers in my days.
Birds, beasts,
You are hands flying
Between the sun and the bright painted land.

Friends, you are trees, shadows,
Leaves swaying
In the wind of the whispering universe.
I am pleased
To say I am living.

I am glad to be able
To sit down and laugh
At the flowers stirring the hours.
I am so very glad to be here to sing
While the sea fills my ears with its wild shouting.

Let me never forget
The long green love of the world.
Let me never forget
To praise the rich brown energetic earth
For her giving.

All Green and Living Things
(from the book "Terra Affirmative")

All green and living things
a foundation beneath my feet,
a wall about my ears,
an arch above my head.

Trees root beside the road.
The road claims the surface
but the trees root down beneath,
trees root down beneath.

They grow tall,
taller than you or I,
but sometimes they bend,
gracefully bend to meet.

Lead us down their path,
a path between trees to a lake,
flat stones interspersed with grass,
grass coming up where no other thing comes up.

In a sandy field
there is shelter from sun and rain
beneath a gnarled old tree
where I can lean my bike.

I lie down on the earth
to dream and feel
the insects creep,
dream and feel the insects creep.

At the hill’s foot
there’s a magic place to wander in,
a forest of leaves and moss
where green & living jewels drip into my eyes.

Improvisations with Pinks and Greens
(from the book "Following Father")

Cherry tree celebrates life
with pink blossom
looks at me, whispering
You could be beautiful too.

Sparrow wears old brown
but his song is pink like the blossom
stuffing my ears
with the sound of elation.

I want the green
that is springtime
and the green
that is knowing.

It is the green that I want
to place in your hands,
a bud for each one of you
buds that belong to this earth.

Sunbeams and dewdrops,
explosions of blossom
plump into fruit
luscious with pure existence.

Crossover (from the book "Following Father")

Plunge through dark woods,
dodge twisted tree limbs,
duck down to swift river
where fish will
answer the song of your dreams
with their polished scales.

You know the dart and flick
of their quick chorus
will be in tune with your heart,
Hypnotising you
until the rushing world dissolves
into that one pool.

Elephants (from the book "Following Father")

Like the elephant's great grey hulk,
Africa divides the Indian and the Atlantic,
holding the oceans at bay, thrusting
its vertebrae high; a knuckled bulk
grabbing for blistering fistfuls of sky.

Where Africa's eyes drain into the Rift,
elephants wander in slow herds, shift across
plains, scour boulder strewn scrub.

The long memoried elephant know all
about patience, and family pride -
and that there is joy in simple things.

Whenever they wallow in water or mud
they bellow their thanks to the Earth
for the indefatigable ooze
of its hide coating African blood.

Fidelity (from the book "TREES")

If I were allowed
I would
paint trees on walls.

They crowd the edges
of vision,
they scrape at doors.

If I were allowed
I would
let the beasts in.

Whale (from the books "Blue Bridge", and "SPAN")

Inhale the forgiving sea mist.
Forget to remember your troubles tonight.

Far out in the waves, a leviathin cruises,
patiently straining water through his teeth.

Inhale the fragrance of pines
rising uphill to where you stand still and silent.

The mountain stream plunges down
over rocks then gravel towards the sea.

Inhale the joys of friendship,
the tender touch of a well-meant hand.

Minerals dissolve in water, troubles in laughter.
The whale feeds and we all are nourished.

Waves at Hawkwood (from the book "In Touch with Water")

This grass is like the sea;
I ride over it with big strides
uphill away from the spray of civilisation.
Deep breaths of green
rinse over my head and chest.

At the forest edge the water level rises;
trunks are awash with ivy.
The green sound of crows
flaps up from the valley
like wet raincoats.

Stalks bob buoyant heads
in the wind, and I take
the seed of their image
back with me towards the buildings
where roses cling to liferaft walls.

I walk in the translucent water
of silence.
The wooded hill behind the house
is a tall green wave
towering over the place.

(note that the three lines in italics can also be a haiku)

Waiting Woods - from TREES

The photograph is a present
which soon becomes a past.
The tress possess a past that endures
parallel with their futures
in a tense we don't have words for.

When we walk into the woods
we enter a branch-span,
a dimension outside that which we know.
We cannot say it, only be in it.
The tress wait.

They wait in a space
that is distant, yet close.
They wait in a time zone
that is frozen, but flows.
And we are aliens.

Unborn - from "Terra Affirmative"

Under the surface
her body is curled,
seed of the one race,
shell of the world.

She is the waterfall.
She is the womb.
She is the bubble.
She is the tomb.

Her hair floats upward,
blood red of the birth.
Her ams are folded
deep into the earth.

She is the fern.
She is the bark.
She is the lantern.
She is the dark.

Her eyes burn the flame
of the old and the young.
Her breath is the name
of each branch of each lung.

She is the ingredient.
She is the blend.
She is the beginning.
She is the end.

Heaven is on Earth - from the book Sacred Selves

when, stuck in a traffic jam
on the motorway
in the pouring rain,
all i see
is the perfect beauty
of the pattern
that each raindrop makes
as it joins it's puddle.


Thread of Mystery (from the book "Spirit Songs")

Earth is mother to the grass.
Trees are fathers - in their arms
the birds make their soft nests fast
and lay eggs - that shine - like stars.

In the rushes - a coot hides.
On the water - a boat glides.
Beneath the surface - fishes eyes
stare - through reflections - of the skies.

It’s the river - flowing to the sea.
It’s the river - between you and me.
It’s the river - can’t you see
that it’s the river - makes us happy -

..................... makes us happy.

We are in this world of ours
as lovers in each other’s arms.
We should have no real fear
of what our futures are.

The seal is a sister thing
to the deer and wolf running.
The sun’s fire is the brethren
of the ice and the howling wind.

It’s the river - flowing through the land.
It’s the river - don’t you understand
that it’s the river and the shady banks,
yes it’s the river and the golden sand -

....................... makes us happy.

All songs leave their water mark.
Whale’s voice echoes through waves dark.
Insects buzz in midnight park.
Lightning precedes a thunderclap.

Rain falls gentle on damp leaves.
Worms wriggle in ecstasy.
Get down on your muddy knees -
gaze - through the puddle - of our dream.

It’s the river - thread of mystery.
All of our kingdom - is a tapestry,
and this old river - it knows how to weave
between the pebbles - and the long green reeds…..

....... yes it’s the river .........
....................makes us happy.

Oh its’ the river - thread of mystery.
All of our kingdom - is a tapestry.
Yes it’s the river - oh can’t you see
that it’s the river - makes us happy -

...... yeah it’s the river ........ yeah it’ the river
...... yeah it’s the river ........
....................makes us happy.

Regeneration (from the book "Spirit Songs")

The river is my snake skin twisting,
my magic dream glistening,
my twinkling sparkling eye water.
The river is my life unraveling,
the rushing forward flow for freedom,
the deeper thought pools calming.
Once upon a time my spirit came
and saw the water always circling;
river, sea, and sky, and mountain.
Then my spirit knew that it was home
where time is now, and then, and was,
and will be forever looping and re-looping.
And the river is all one and part
of air and earth and universe and heart.
And the river water is our thousand thousand drops
....... of sunlit love.

In a Bishopswood Clearing
(from the book "Following Father")

I am sitting in the grass with a picnic
basket and a notebook.
The children walk away from me
flick flickety off at a tangent
between thin blotched beech trunks,
then turn like yo-yos at the end of their strings
and come back to me.

Slabs of sun and shade slash
their faces as they come
but do not cut as deep as the flex
of their emotions
grappling with some
small understanding of this
place, this time, we’re in.

Night Watch (from the book "Following Father")

There is the wheel
and there is the compass

There are the white sails
and there is the night.

There is the swell of water
and there is the wind.

I am frozen into tranquility.
Earth's magnetism hums.

Song of the Drakensberg
(from the book "Following Father")

Leave the laughing river,
shade of wattle trees,
incessant cicada throb.
Wade through rippling seas
of grass, chest high, dry,
hissing Africa's chant.
Reach first streaked rock faces
carved by wind and water,
caves daubed with paint.
Dancing Bushmen and animal
figures wake neural connections
with primitive past.
Climb higher, to where wind
shrieks war dance songs and clouds
make the sound of African drums.
Stand like a witch doctor
on the peak. Raise your hands
to soothe the brow of the sky.

Flow (from the book "Sacred Selves")

River, your expansive belly carries us.
We float like tiny squiggles, seeds
of thought, or sperm, graceful with
your body fluids transporting us so easily.

Endless life, no start no end,
there's actual peace in death -
with no bottom to the waterfall -
falling is true orgasmic beauty.

Existing in the embrace of the universe
we become only light - luminous and numinous,
in absolute spaciousness, silent, clear,
fertile, open - like snowfall or owls feathers

or swimming underwater. Look and see,
the river is a timeless flow, a twisting
magic ribbon, feeding and cradling
our yielding souls simultaneously.

Poem for Children (from the book "Spirit Songs")

Think of all those stars -
the sun, the moon, the space
that stretches on and on.

Hold that universe within.
It is within your hearts
for we are all one.

The knowledge is within
each one of us,
we know it in our dreams.

The power is within
each one of us
to rejoice in its existence.

The power is in your hands
to be true
and keep it beautiful.

Paths - from TREES

If we took a different path
perhaps the outcome would be other?
A multiple choice faces us,
but if our purpose is only survival
almost any path would do as well.

I feel something more:
a certain quality of experience,
a music, a sensuousness.
As I move on, the trees move with me,
remain in my blood, my gut;

not only the ones I have seen,
but also those I imagine
standing behind them,
and those that creak slowly
across my path.

Feathers - from Blue Bridge

The tree longs for the bird
and once come, will not let it go
willingly from its roost.

The sky longs for the bird
to mix its blue air
with sharp song.

The sun longs for the bird
to skim its swift shadow
upon the earth.

The stream longs for the bird
to dip its bright beak
into slow pools.

the dust longs for the bird
to scratch and to scoop
fine ripples over its back.

The bird itself is restless;
swoops, dives,
rises, alights,

does not quite know
where to put itself,
cries, cries.

(Imagine how many places at once the world might want a person to be:
to participate, experience, witness, contemplate, learn from, share.)

from the book Spanish Poems

I think I have swallowed
half the moon and a couple of stars.
Cockerels are crowing, but it is still dark.
Cockerels see the dawn coming long before we do.
They recognize the colours of sunrise
painted into their tails as mementos.
They greet their old friend, the sun, with cries of delight
which I heartily approve of,
even if I do have to get up to make coffee.
The shutters of the house are open wide to let in the first light,
just as my heart is open to the world
and the Spanish guitar will shortly talk to me
as I sit with it on the porch in the half dark
gradually unveiling shapes of cats, trees, and rocks
as it pales, then becomes bright day.