The darkness filtered in across the Wind River Range,
Drifting through the ancient spaces of Arapaho plains,
And I, still a child of sixteen,
Huddled in a sleeping bag,
Staring up at a vast black sky,
Patterned with the scattered dancing
Of a million stars.
And the wind, it felt like freedom
And the mountains they were beating
With some kind of barely audible drum.
But I could feel it in my bones,
Like the faintest whisper:
“This is home.”
And so I let the darkness
Fall all around me.
And later, in the depths of an Arapaho ceremony,
I felt my skin cascade
My ribs break
And suddenly, from my naked heart,
I just knew how to pray.
That opening, it never closed,
So that, even now,
The dust of sacred things
Clings tightly to my soul.
And in the blindness of the crowds
I desperately chase it,
Through the veils of common day
I find new ways to trace it.
It is there, you know. Can you see it?
When just born, we can.
I see it in my children’s eyes,
The lingering of a love
Stronger than all the love of man,
So devoid of fear, unfaltering, pure,
So beautiful that when I hold them
My heart breaks apart in tears.
And I don’t want to lose it.
All my life, I’ve sought the broken, held the strays,
Caressed the wounded spaces,
Tried so hard to mend the pieces,
Trailing blood along the way.
And the blood it bleeds from a place of honesty;
Yet, selfishly, washes away the layers of protection
Exposing them to me
Feeding my soul the light that I so desperately seek.
And now, you.
You, burning with the same light that I’ve always known,
And I, like a child again, facing the Arapaho moon,
I can feel these sacred things move
Like remembrances of some other home.
From William Wordsworth's "Intimations on Immortality:"
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.