(holy) well

there are no cruel
and bitter gods here,
no winter frosts
that bite black death
in the shortening days –

our gods are moon and sun
and the green green growing,
our gods are river and tree,
the grass rattle seeds of summer
and the songline of birds
singing bridges between worlds –

the gods here speak frog-tongue
fly translucent on insect wings
shatter the darkness
with a cacophony of stars.
the gods here

into the dark quiet
we drop a stone
count the silence
until it is swallowed
by water

know only that
somewhere in the depths
is a surface
rippling now
with our measure
and beyond that
and depth
and depth enough
to slake our desire
quench our thirst.

of course we brought those
cruel and bitter gods here too
brought our gods of paradise lost
to paradise – carried them bone jangling
in the pit of our stomach.
eat or be eaten
kill or be killed
tried to make the world as we thought it
until we learned to see.

there is no right way up on this globe
north and south can be either here or there –
but our bodies like sunflowers
know the seasons and poles
turn and turn towards the light

and will there be feasting
on the shores of tomorrow –
will our feet still imprint
our wild spinning dance –
will the tide take our prayers
like a blossom to the tide.

the trees that blossom here
were planted on the ashes
and bones of our dead.
these trees that blossom here
were planted –
roots running deep,
seeking the holy well.

For Brendan at earthweal’s weekly challenge: ALL SOULS



17 thoughts on “(holy) well

  1. ‘will our feet still imprint
    our wild spinning dance –
    will the tide take our prayers
    like a blossom to the tide.’

    Such a poignant question, as we await the outcome of the COP26 conference and perhaps our last real chance to save the planet…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ever we learn how many faces the world comes at us with — summer/winter light/darkness zenith/well dance/death. The pole dancing here shakes and shimmies with an earth goddess mid-smile: How apropos and needed for the bare frozen heath where seeds daze and sleep. A holy well indeed here:

    somewhere in the depths
    is a surface
    rippling now
    with our measure
    and beyond that
    and depth
    and depth enough
    to slake our desire

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sure Steiner said something about how observing and celebrating the seasons reminded us who we are – and that a time would come when our celebrations and rituals would remind the seasons(or the earth) who they were. Or something kind of like that. Perhaps one of the many risks of one global culture is the loss of balance in the seasons – where seasons are a cultural phenomenon rather than of physical body of the earth experience what is there to moderate the heat of summer, the cold of winter.(And this from someone who joyfully celebrates christmas at the summer solstice every year) Always grateful to you and this platform for the conversation and the pole dancing.


      1. I like the thought from Steiner and sure hope it’s true … thus we have our work cut out … It’s been a learning experience here at earthweal, combining local truths with global facts. What is the global mind which can accommodate different events at opposite poles without something flying off their dancers? (Sorry, can’t stop whistling at the metaphor.) We learning something about that here, setting local experiences on a global shelf.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Love to find out where you got the Steiner quote from. Sherry will be doing a challenge next week on The Great Forgetting and how poetry must be a part of the remembering (including reminding the Earth.)


      3. I did a brief search for it this morning and came up with nothing. I came across it in an article when my girls were young- probably nearly twenty years ago. Will scratch around a bit more when I get home this evening.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of the Earth being a spinning globe where there is no up or down, north or south, just a constant reaching for the light. You describe the power of nature in the so called ‘new world’ so well. These lands we live on are so ancient and the northern cultures of our ancestors are a very recent graft onto far deeper roots that go down and down into the bedrock of humanity. Your beautiful poem is insightful and full of this ancient knowing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Suzanne. I have such a strange relationship with our ancestral seasonal festivals. I do love the shape and meaning they can give to the year – but they are also a very uncomfortable fit with our looong growing seasons that stretch one into another without a hard freeze and silent winter. There are gods here for sure that dance their own wheel. Not all are have been remembered yet. I am guessing your Australian experience is similar?


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