Deer in the Mist By Robert Jones Med. 240dpi Altered



One reflective night in February of 2009, at the age of 26, I experienced an evolution in my writing. Sitting at my desk one evening I wrote a poem entitled: The Sacred. This poem was unlike any I had ever written before—it was clear, it was intense and it was approachable. At the end of the night, when the poem was complete, I knew I had penned something that went beyond a personal confession to be jotted down in my journal. I had written the first pages of a larger collection that, unlike other works I had written, actually had a chance at being published.

That night I felt the weight of the moment, which is unusual, as we so often cannot appreciate life-changing moments as they occur. At this point in my life I hadn’t been published yet. Up until this point I had been a writer struggling to get a foot in the door of the industry; working in a form and on a subject not readily embraced by the mainstream. However, The Sacred marked the beginning of a fruitful time. Trembling, I worried that this new evolution might not “stick”—that perhaps it was a fleeting moment of clarity bound to pass. I told myself: The Sacred came out so well, how could I ever top this?  What I didn’t realize was this poem was only the crest of a large wave of creativity about to break upon my life. Over the next eight weeks I wrote the first drafts of what eventually would become Ruminations at Twilight and Oak Wise. By summer the collections were finished and, following a series of synchronous events that I still cannot fully explain, by autumn of 2009 I had been signed for a 3-book poetry deal with Little Red Tree Publishing.

In 2010 The Sacred was nominated for the 2010 Pushcart Prize. But accolades aside, this poem will always be dear to me because as it was put down to paper my small world contracted and the narrow horizon widened.

Below I have posted The Sacred in its entirety. I hope you enjoy it.



The Sacred    

By: L.M. Browning

Excerpt from Ruminations at Twilight: Poetry Exploring the Sacred

{This poem was nominated for the 2010 Pushcart Prize.}

Image: Deer in the Mist © by Robert Jones



The Destructive Coup of Mankind


You placed yourself in all that you created.

You lived within the majesty of the world we uprooted.

…in the mountains we hollowed out.

…in the rushing rivers we dammed.

…in the old wood forests we burned.

…in the graceful beasts we hunted to extinction.

…in the soul you gave us,

which we were so eager to reshape

and have so carelessly guarded the purity of.


We destroyed you

and now we damn you for forsaking us.

We hid you

and now we demand to know

why you have made yourself illusive.

We renounced you

and now accuse you of turning your back on us.

We left behind the simple ways you taught us

and now ask to know why

we must live in a world without meaning.


Always demanding more of you we say, “Speak!”

You shout to us with all your might,

from across the divide of our disbelief,

coming to us as a faint whisper and we say,

“Not enough. —Appear.”

You come unto us in your shapeless form

—a being woven from the fibers of spiri

invisible to the doubting eye,

luminous to the believing—

and, only seeing a vague shadow of you,

we dismiss you as a figment of our own longing.


You ever-dwell within and around;

while we are ever-asking when you shall appear.

You have made it so the river of your consciousness

flows through our very heart.

Yet we feel that we have been neglected

and left to wander without tether or guide.


We have sought you out for millenniums on end,

you—oh power beyond us.

Yet this next generation,

who shall harness the genome,

will leave behind their need for you;

for one does not feel the need

to seek out the greater power

if one perceives themselves to be greater still.


One will not seek out the deeper workings

if one presumes to already understand them.

One does not feel the need

to beg for a miracle from a god

if one believes they can simply pay another man

to be their savior.


The god of the ancestors will be left behind

as man finally assumes the role himself.

And I am left wondering if,

after the mobs who carved the idols of you disperse

—if after they put down the gilded images of you—

will those of us who stay,

finally come to see your true face?


If, once the mobs stop force-feeding

all peoples the confining doctrine,

might we not at last be able to hear your actual words?

I wonder if, after the doors are closed on the theatrical mass,

will those of us who still long to find you

once again feel that pull to return to the ancient wood

or stand upon the shore’s edge,

where man’s spirituality began

and find you there, in those places

where the veil between worlds is thin?


As the frenzy and fanaticism dies,

religion is left behind

and the new age

of man’s own perceived omnipotence begins,

will those of us who choose not to follow

finally go back to our roots?

While the others begin the pending descent

will we who remain go into the past to secure a future?


I know I will.


For I know that what we need to be complete,

is not something that we can invent

but rather is something we must resurrect.

…it is not something that must be discovered,

but rather rediscovered.


The Modern Ignorance of the Ancient Wisdom


We shall not be able to heal

the ailing soul with synthetics.


no matter the medicines made to

treat the symptoms of the body,

humanity shall continue to decline.


Yet we need not fear.

What we need to heal ourselves still endures.

It flourished once before, in the eras past—

before the great books were written

and the robes of priesthood were woven—

when it was man and woman

and the other whom dwelt beyond but near.


The savage in fur and buckskin,

who had naught but his fire

and his tools made of bone,

was wise enough to see

the sacredness of the world around him.


He recognized the magic

that lie in the movement of stars and planets,

in the ebb and flow of the tide,

in the waxing and waning of the moon,

in the miracle of the emerging seed

and the nourishing bounty to follow.


Yet the first thing we did

to try to establish our modern intelligence

was to explain your magic as science.

We declared your wonders

 to be ordinary.

We took away your power

and gave it to the molecules of matter and energy.

We drained the fathomless ocean of the unknown

and founded the shallow world.


We dismissed the cave-dweller

who awed at the stars as simple-minded.

We declared the great mystery solved.

We emptied ourselves of belief,

and now we despair at the hollowness of life.


However, I can go no further.

I can follow no more the misguided.


I must part from the others and go back

to the place where we left you.

I am coming home to light the cold hearth.

I am coming home to till the overgrown fields.

I am coming home to you;

where I shall ask you, oh ancient one

—mother and father to all creatures—

to take me back in.



The Human Face Encased Within the Stone Idol


We made you a god.

We gave you the throne and crown

in our attempt to understand

what it is to be all-powerful.

We likened you to a lord of men

—a ruler with free reign—

for that was our idea of the omnipotent Being.


However, you were never that, were you.


We imagined you in domed halls of marble,

the silver bearded judge and monarch—

commander of angels,

mover of worlds,

weaver of souls.

But that was never where you were.

…that was never what you were.

Our feeble minds,

which held such wrong ideas of power,

could never comprehend what you truly are.


Yes, oh primordial power, you exist

but we have not the eyes to see you.


You—the force from which we sprung—

are a Being that we cannot fathom.

It is not your absence

that keeps us from seeing you,

it is our own blindness.

For you are there,

we simply have not

the awareness to recognize you.


Throughout our existence we have sought you,

all the while thinking you to be one person,

when in fact you are another.


And in our vain attempts to define you

we have only maimed you.

In our efforts to bring ourselves closer to you,

we have only brought ourselves further away.

Now we are faced, not only with opening our minds

but also with clearing them;

for we cannot come to understand what you truly are,

until we find a way to let go of the past forms we gave to you.


I shall mourn the myth that dies;

nevertheless I shall let that myth go,

for I do not wish to cling to what is false.

I wish to embrace what is genuine.


I turn away from the mural,

that I might one day gaze upon your true form.


I stop reciting the mantras of contradictory doctrine,

that I might feel your voice flow through me

and we may be able to have a conversation.



You are not a body to be embraced,

you are a deep force to be delved into.

Meeting you is not done with a shaking of hands

but an entwining of spirits.

Hearing you is not done through opening our ears

 but opening our heart.


In attuning ourselves to hear the unspoken;

in adjusting our sight to see the unseen

and in sharpening our senses to detect the imperceptible,

we begin to recognize that you are always here with us.

Remaking the pathways of our mind,

which demand explanation

before it shall consider the possibility of….

We shall free ourselves to understand your existence

and the reality you work off of,

which is based upon the one truth:

that love—you—

is capable of all things.



The Enduring Truth Underneath the Aged Lie


You—deep river of purifying, nourishing waters.

You—wind that carries whispers of other worlds.

You—great solace from the emptiness we have made.

I am in need of you.


You—whose body is woven

with threads of coursing spirit,

I have seen you emerge from the backdrop

when the dawning light hits you,

highlighting the features

of your invisible face.


Walking through the mists,

I feel the drapes and folds

of the robes you wear,

as you envelope me.

In the warm caress of the clear light

shining upon my face

I feel the heat from your body.


You—greatest yet humblest force—

you dwell contently in the background.

While we have proclaimed our might you,

in your modesty,

have continued to hold all life in balance.


You—encircling, penetrating presence—

you are the most intense being, yet never overbearing;

the most powerful, yet never dominating;

the wisest, yet without a trace of arrogance about you.

Show me your ways, for I wish to be as you are.


You—whose presence is so powerful—

you hold gravity over my entire being,

just as the sun and moon do over the ocean.

When I feel you pull away my soul recedes

and when I feel you come near the tide floods in

and depth returns.


Yet you never pull away, do you.

It is always I who leaves…

I who allows myself

to be taken away by that other current

—swept from you—

pulled back into the shallows,

to be beached upon the barren world

we, mankind, have created.


The Acts That Reveal the Unseen


What we create, reflects what lies within us.

You—venerable, learned teacher—you knew this.


So you went forward slowly,

growing until you were ready

and then you brought forth the Earth from your soul—

a creation which shows the beauty of your inner-self.

While we, in our haste and greed,

built a world upon your Earth

that reflects our ugliness and arrogance.


Show us our beauty, great mirror.

Let us look through your ancient lens

and see the Earth as you do,

that we might pause in solemn respect

and not thoughtlessly destroy the perfection

you so painstakingly brought forth.


While others seek dominion over the Earth, know this:

I do not wish to create my own world;

I wish only to be free to explore every depth of yours.


I would be forever content

to dwell in the vastness of your soul.

Wandering through the many rooms

within your grand house.

To put away the endeavors of concrete and steel,

and lay my head in the groves of thick grass,

at the bases of the elder trees,

beneath the vaulted loft of the flowering branches.


Gazing upon each bloom,

beholding each vista,

watching each living creature,

all the while knowing that as I do

I am looking upon the different sides of you.


You, whose soul is the prism that,

when the light of the sun passes through,

creates the rainbow.

I wish to pass myself through you,

that I may see the multicolored hues

 that compose the fiber of my being.


I wish to leave behind

this black and white world of sharp angles

that we created in our narrowness

and step into the vibrant world of flowing contours,

which you created in your boundlessness.



To Find Who Was Lost


Are you there oh silent one,

listening to my pleas?

Are you here with me

as I mutter in the darkness?


How I wish for you to take form beside me.

While, all along, you sit beside me wishing for me

to be able to see that you already have.


Will this ever end?

Will this wall that lies between us

ever come down?

I do not know what creates it.

I do not think it is my disbelief;

for I am here reaching for you—

whom I know is there.


Tell me knowledgeable one:

What makes the unseen, unseeable?

Is it something in its nature

or something in ours?

Why would the creation

not be able to see the creator?

Why would the offspring of the force,

not be able to see its source?


We have tried to relate to you

by giving you our own image.

We gave you the image of the silver bearded man,

that we might have a face for the presence

we have sensed just beyond

and so ardently sought to know.

But, perhaps you are not to be found in body.


You gave us the vessel

in which to hold our being woven of spirit.

But perhaps, you desired no such house for your own being.

Choosing instead to keep yourself in free flowing spirit,

ever-migrating through the channels of the unseen,

that you might be with all of us at once.


If we are to find you

we must look for what a being is

when out of its body.

If we are to depict you,

we must draw what we are

when removed from this vessel.


To find the part of you that is within us,

we must first look upon our true form.

To find the family resemblance

we must look in the mirror that reflects the internal—

look beyond the features of the body,

to the face of the being within.

It is there—beyond the surface—

that we shall see the form you take.

It is there that we shall see what it is you truly are.

And it is then that we shall know

who and what we have always been.


It is then that we shall realize,

that to find something or someone

there is a superficial layer

that must first be peeled back.

It is then that we shall appreciate

the life that dwells beneath and within.


And when at last we do this,

the world you created shall open to us

—the wall will fall away—

and we each shall wake to find you sitting beside us;

dwelling in that part of the world

we left long ago to pursue other ambitions,

where you have remained in constant vigil waiting for us

—your lost family—to return.





Poetry Exploring the Sacred

[Revised & Updated – Second edition featuring a new foreword and new/updated poems.]

Foreword by: J.K. McDowell, author of Night, Mystery & Light

Published by Homebound Publications

ISBN 978-1-938846-04-5 | 6 x 9 | 150 Pgs | List Price $14.95

*2011 Pushcart Prize Nomination

Now Available in Paperback, Audio Book and Ebook

Signed Editions Available Publisher-direct Here>>

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

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