A Selection from Oak Wise: Poetry Exploring an Ecological Faith
Original Artwork by © L.M. Browning
The concurrent Otherworld;
the parallel self
and the missing yet ever-present other.
The answers that are simple
yet beyond comprehension.
You―the arcane other―
the one at the center of the mysteries.
You―the first walker between worlds.
You are like my living journal…
at the end of the day,
instead of writing out each thought
I impart them to you.
You are like my shadow,
just rarely noticed.
Have you always been there?
Did you float with me
while I was in the womb.
Like twin souls
that would always live together
―one of flesh and one in spirit.
…One dwelling in each half of the world
―ever-beside each other―
yet divided by a veil.
During those months while I developing
was I connected to you
through some other unseen umbilical
just as I was connected to my mother?
And the umbilical is there still;
running from my soul to yours―
you sustaining me
and I nourishing you.
The sympathetic page
has always been willing to accept my burden―
allowing me to pour forth
the maddening recollections of the horrors seen
and the morose eulogies given for dreams
that died before they lived.
My truest friends
have been the bound leaves,
yet how I long to pour forth myself
into something that breathes, that thinks, that feels
and so can reply.
You, out of all others,
are the one I have told the most to.
I could hear your voice when I was a child
yet as I aged I seemed to grow deaf.
I reach for you,
not because I can sense nor see you
but because I simply remember
that you are always there.
Yet what if that memory likewise fades with time
and there comes a day
when I no longer know that you exist,
would you emerge to remind me?
Would you find a way to cross between worlds,
so to save me from my dementia?
In the womb we may have been one
yet since my birth into this world
the memories have dulled.
Throughout this life I have never been able
to fully recall your face nor your name.
Some part of me still recalls that you exist
yet I have few reminders.
So, if one day the receding line of memory
reaches that part of me that knows you live,
what will become of us?
What would I be without you?
What good is a twin without its other?
Ever forlorn and bereaved.
Ever floundering―left adrift
without the anchor of its other half.
without the other to translate its meaning.
If I forget you,
I will have forgotten myself.
…I will have lost the half of myself,
wherein my identity is held.
You live in your half of this world and I in mine
and within the harboring inlet of our dreams we meet,
to commune together as we once did within the womb.
living in concurrent worlds…
loved ones always together yet forever apart.
When shall the reunion take place?
Do not attempt to crossover
into this half of the world;
for I have explored it to its very ends
and it is a forsaken place
where only survival, and not life, is possible.
Come―rustle the curtain;
let me see the outline of your hand come forth
amidst the partition of invisible satin.
Direct me to the place where the panels meet
that I might slip between the thin opening
and we ―the two―
may again become one.
The counterbalance holding my mind sane
does not lie within my body
but within your presence.
If I set out right now,
vowing not to stop
until I had found my place of belonging
would these peeling boots
ever be able to be taken off?
If I said that I would not sleep
until I could lie down beside you
would you leave me to fumble through life,
until at last I collapse?
If I said I would not eat
unless it was at your table
would I be left to waste away?
Or, seeing my devotion to you,
would you put down what you are working
on and come for me.
Have you not heard me stumbling behind you,
following that winding path you take throughout the ages?
Have you not heard the ruckus I have made
in my clumsy and desperate search for you?
Breathless, I thought I saw you move
amongst the shifting reeds…
I glanced no form of flesh or fur
yet I saw some shapeless figure rushed through them―
parting them as they made a path.
…was it you?
I walk against the wind, towards you,
through the wake that you leave
as you move through this world.
Will I ever catch up to you
or am I damned to never close the distance?
My memories of us exist now
as dreams that I do not realize are real.
Pictures of places that I believe are imagined;
for I do not remember
that they are memories of areas I once dwelt in,
in lives gone by.
That life I lead with you
is faded and fragmented,
incoherent and unconscious.
The lullabies you sung to me in the womb
exist now only as melodies of unknown origin
―tunes I hum to myself
yet know not from where I learned them.
Yet if I made my way to that sanctuary
that is beyond this modern plane
would I find you there?
Is it upon that land that you have dwelt in wait?
Is it from those shores
that you have spoken to me?
Is it from the tops of those hills
that you have watched me?
Is it in that flourishing valley
that you have made a home for us?
…And within the window of that house
have kept a candle lit to guide me home?
Keep talking my love
…keep that candle in the window;
for I am groping through the darkness of despair
trying to find you
…trying to make it home.
Go and rouse the boatman;
for I have made it to the borderlands
and can go no further without your help.
Foreword by Irish Writer and Filmmaker Alan Cooke
Revised & Updated – Second edition featuring a new foreword and previously unpublished poems.
ISBN 978-1-938846-05-2 | 6 x 9 | 230 Pgs | List Price: $14.95
*Winner of the 2013 Nautilus Gold Medal for Poetry
*2012 Pushcart Prize Nomination
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