The Book of Leaf

As I was walking about in the forest, variously jubilant with the surprising honour of being in old growth wilderness, virtually untouched by the claws of man, or even the nasty vipers of ‘connectivity’, and at other times hunched and bitter over the battles and treasons that are this Age, upon us everywhere, I began to see a book of poems being told me by the trees.

There was one here, about sorrow. One there, about the beautiful ancient wine of grief, and how it has been tended in the most sacred of hands for as long as there have been life on our fair Earth.

There was one about growing old. And this one, which, as I was writing, caused the little dog to fall asleep most quietly beside me, and a very large kookaburra to frighten me half to pieces, by landing right in front of me as I set down the last phrases.


This is the time
not tomorrow, or after the machines cometh,
or when the wailing really starts to turn to shrieks.

This is the time
to turn back to the old stories
they have arrived just in time;
the old legends of your own culture
are calling
and the ancient lights
are being lit.

One by one, in a great gallop of story,
the sentinels go out and blaze
the sacred lamps
of leaf, dew, mushroom cup and the whole, startled face of the wild.

Heralds all these! – and not the News

No, not the news…
but this…
the precious scent of the last fur,
the last footprint,
the last particular cut of the air
by a bird
who carries the miracle of the last feather of its kind.

.. and this;

the last gentle tread of the bear,
the possum, the bee, the old man, at peace in his becoming tree,
and the old woman
who remembers what it is to have a hearth to tell a story over
instead of a machine

and the terrible scenes of your own beloveds
under the weight of the call
or falling under poison arrows
and finding neither the medicine of stark courage
nor the strange letter from an owl
upon which is written only

This is the time
not tomorrow, or after the wild cathedrals are all burned
or picked back to skeletons.

This is the time
to see, and to feel and to know that the call is to turn around
and that this is good.
It is time to come back, to drop the telescope
turn back
from the horizon
and run like hell toward the heart.
The ancient tribes of the West

have set their fires alight
on every sacred headland
on every wild island
in every stinging heart,

and the messengers are running
baring the torches of Come Home!
to all the tribes first scattered on the ancient Western fields
to Defend the Castle of our Grail
and the wild from which it draws.

Come Home
to the fragrant dream of virgin dew on the open
book of the leaf,
to the psychedelic punch of the wild mud of your own roots
laced with mushroom and spice of fox.

Come Home
to the Way of being woman
and the noble Craft of man.
come to the old magic of a quiet nest, an honest bed
and the humble work of tending to the sacred church of home.


Come Home
to the ethernet of wind
raking through the gnarly arms and the wise old hair of big trees,
trees that know your name
and can remind
of it
and how it sounds,

sung out wild,
on the hot breath of forest walking,
among the tender things
from which you,
and the whole wild
is woven.

One thought on “The Book of Leaf

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