(for Shree Maa)
By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 7/20/08

Having departed the illustrious city,
That granitic labyrinth of worms and terminations,
Where love is manufactured by our cravings,
We surrender the precious celebrity of concubinage,
Escape the inquisitions of prevaricators,
And ignore the vagabonds, who steal and the iron-lipped preachers,
Who flog us with reproachful kindnesses.
Why should we stay where our foreheads shrink
To the tiniest span, our truculence vibrating so slowly,
It is as if we were born already cynics,
At age sixty, our words all gale and straw,
And frantic with such tabular permutations
That our minds refuse to admit the possibility
Of surprise or the promise of tomorrow?
But now, now, all that has changed. Last night,
We discovered the forest. The forest is boundless.
The forest has yellow suns barely visible through
Magical half-tints. The forest is lit by lightning,
Breaking from the bodies of beasts, its vegetation
Fountaining, in every drifting breeze, with the wild
Exhilarations of fancy. As from oaks, madrones, laurels,
Pines, secret assemblies of cherubim lift, with innocent
Dimpled hands, a round, orange, barbarous moon, their white
Eyes bright as glass. Nothing could be named,
Until we found this forest, although its paths
Are infinite entanglements where logic loses
Its silken blood-thin thread. And yet here, the extraneous guides us,
Like the sermons of birds, whose language
We assimilated unknowingly, as children mimic
The gestures of their elders. Here, the phrase:
“The saint is alive, and singing,” is not symbolic.
Here, dressed in saffron yellow, she waits before her fire,
The volume of her soul so great, it sticks out of her body,
The sweetness of her voice, so fine, it pares all grief away.

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