West Of The Moon

West of the Moon is the unofficial, temporary meeting ground for the members of Christendom's Guild of the Cross and the Quill. Sadly West of the Moon won't be in our future permanent web URL because a number of other selfish people already registered all permutations of the URL years ago without even consulting me. For that they shall pay.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I Saw You Rejoicing

This one was started some time ago and finished fairly recently. I have an innate interest in Native American culture, and I have always felt a sort of kinship with the Native American people, although I am not at all American Indian. They seemed to possess such a strangely accurate idea of God, whom they called 'the Great Spirit.' Chief Red Fox(I think that is his name) once said something along these lines: "Among the American Indians there was a single concept of religion regardless of tribe or geographic location. They believed the finite and the infinite to be expressions of one universal, absolute being, who furnished guidelines for their moral conduct, and motivated every living thing. They called this the Great Spirit." I thought this statement to be absolutely beautiful, and living proof of the natural law which God has written on the heart of man.

I Saw You Rejoicing

I saw you rejoicing
And wonder, my angel,
Your heart and your eyes like the sun were shining
The essence of a west wind
Was restless beneath you
His neck shone as gold in the strengthening sunlight
I saw you there laughing
My angel, my moonlight,
Tutonka were many on plains of Dakota
The deer were too many
To slay with a quiver
Too many for Five or Six Nations to kill
Like river in moonset
Your hair in the sunrise
Your features of copper were brighter than flame
I watched you, my angel,
From eyes in the shadows
Of linden-tree flower and falcon wings rising
I hid without courage
Away in the forest
Not daring to move at audacity’s spur
I feared you so greatly,
Thine anger, my angel,
Why should you believe if my wonder I told?
And how could you listen
My angel or sunlight
I thought you would only see blood in my eyes
I feared not believing
Would you turn and leave me?
Or maybe my presence would cost you thy peace
I thought that, my wonder,
Forgive me, my angel
I heard of the screams for which others bore guilt
Unbridling anger
Believing in hatred
Released on ones lost in unwelcoming shadows
I thought that my life blood
Would lie in death’s stagnance
But God would rebuke me for judging thy heart.
You saw me there hiding
You wondered, my angel,
A pale-face watching where nothing was mine
An evil one tempted
My angel to anger
But no one could poison the light in thine eyes.
“Come with me,” you said.
I did not understand thee
But somehow the aspens were telling your story
You held out your hand to me
Should I, my angel?
I knew not where, how far from haven and stay
My mind raged against thee
It told me of shadows
It saw naught but tomahawk, quiver, and blade
But I would not listen
Already decided
I placed my white hand in thy waiting red palm
You brought me beside you
Our throne was of sunlight
You told him to take us wherever he might
You showed me thy rivers
The leaves of thy maples
You said to be trusting, you well understood
Though I could not answer
You knew what my thoughts were
But all thought was lost in the things that you gave me
You took me to freedom
The edge of a rock face
You let my heart soar with the hawks that were near me
The clouds were my footstool
The sun was my mantel
When heard I a shadow, I followed the voices
Into the deep forests
The lowest of valleys
The darkest of crypts and the blackest abyss
You parched my true spirit
With plains growing golden
You dried out my heart with the arid plateaus
But over the mesa
A lake glimmered songlike
A stream speaking softly, a lingering mist
My soul drank it, wondering,
Touching a heaven
The kingfishers knew and they smiled on me
The tree frog was laughing
A timber wolf gazing
The eagle of gold turned from where he was gleaming
Though knew I not how, still
I spoke to my brothers
The heron crept closer, the stag bent his antler
I spoke to them, angel,
They listened, my moonlight,
I spoke, and they listened, and they understood.
But angel, I listened
More wondrous than speaking
If I could but tell you the words that they sang.
They told me of, angel,
I can’t speak for wonder
Their words were as frightful as darkness and night
As sweet and as joyful
As swallows in summer
As apocalyptic as comets or storms
They spoke of their birth
At the dawn of the ages
Of Him Who is girded with rivers and stars
The One from Whose Stillness
The birds swept at morning
And into Whose Heart the last eagle will fly.
Their speech was unearthly
Beyond human telling
The Spirit had given them measureless wisdom
The wolf praised His valor
The turtle His meekness
I saw in the raptors His fierceness and light
Each new revelation
A well sharpened dagger
A beautiful agony tortured my soul
I fell in a vortex
An effluent violence
The words that they told were too much to contain
The wolf snatched my spirit
And ran to a mountain
He let it fall bloody to no safe return
The fall was a glory
So violently splendid
The impact of earth the most splendid of all
Yet never to rest me
The swords were still waiting
For me to arise so to pierce me again.
The lightning and thunder
Surrounded and sundered
My blood ran and curdled with healing venom
My heart was like fire
All darkness around me
And then I was seized by ineffable light.
I fell back in wonder
Less pain than a rapture
He sent me His falcon to soften my fall
I leant on its breast
Fairest creature de terra
He covered my slumber with sheltering wings.
I opened my eyes with
A peaceful arising
Both knowledge and mystery flooded my heart
Some strange sort of life was now
Rising within me
The kingfishers looked at me just as before
The stag was still standing
Beneath the sequoias
The heron still waded but farther away
The wolf lay beyond me
No hint of his actions
The falcon who guarded me now was at roost
The sun was here falling
He painted earth golden
The first of the stars were beginning their watch
You stood in the sunlight
Your steed next thee waiting
“What saw you, while standing?” I said to thee strangely
You smiled, and said to me
“Somebody told you
Of Him while you stayed by the water and thistle
I saw in your features
A light of His making
While kingfishers watched and an eagle was near
I call Him ‘Great Spirit’,
He fills me and moves me
I ask Him each day to watch over my heart
He gave me Creation
To guard and to cherish
My people are wardens of flower and stone
The hawks are our comrades
The foxes our brothers
They tell us of Him in exchange for our pledge.
Surpass we creation
But we are united
Our eyes are the stars and the sun is our heart
He dyed our skin crimson
With roses and soil
He drew out our hair from the strands of the night
So closely connected
The earth and my people
He charged us to watch it and keep it for Him
The grasses and vireo
Marten and thunder
And such is our task to the end of the world.’
I knew this already
Remembering something
I once saw in waters a glimpse of thine eyes
The mountains were holding
The secrets you gave them
Each sparrow betrayed every note of thy voice.
Thy laughter was evident
Rising from brooksides
The flower would lean to thee, seeing itself.
How could I go, angel
Where could I find sunlight
I asked you to show me each peak of thy mountains
All lilies that grew for thee
Each of thy kestrels
You told me it might take the length of our years
But you did not mind it
And I did not mind it
Though sunlight was gone we set out on our quest.


Anonymous Andreth said...

Rachel, you are so talented. This poem is beautiful, and it really swept me into another world. I also admire the Native Americans; they seem to have such a pure view of nature and spiritual things, and above all, a real appreciation for beauty. I think you captured that in your poem.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Gregaria said...

I love this poem! Congratulations on finishing it! Thank you for posting it.

2:38 AM  

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