Once a poem is posted online, most publications consider it a reprint and won’t consider it for publication. So I figure I may as well post those poems where rights have reverted back to me, but are unlikely to be republished anywhere but in a collection of poems (which is completed, submitted, but not yet accepted). This poem took second place in the IBPC several months ago and was reprinted during Grass Roots Books & Music‘s National Poetry Month campaign (on Earth Day, April 2007).
I See God Standing in Stout Grove
Here, Heaven appears in bursts of broken sunlight
between treetops swaying with the weight of words;
supplication spirals up from bodies unbent, unkneeling.
Here, faces appear carved in soft red bark, and limbs
stretch earthward as invitations for embrace; gnarled
branches curl like arthritic hands without pain.
Here, seedlings appear along the frames of the fallen;
new trunks rise beside fern and moss over logs lying
prone; roots curl over ancient stumps and both survive.
Here, redwoods appear in clusters; gods grow upon gods,
between gods, within gods-relics of old religions twisting
together in perpetual union, continuous creation.
Beneath these branches, I know why ancients worshipped
trees, why they sought solace in these groves
and found them filled with spirit-tinged whispers.
I remember you from my youth, Lord.
I remember you from a childlike dream.