Posted by: Mark Nielsen | November 6, 2010

My Pine-Scented Soul – a poem & background

I neglected to mention that I got a poem e-published last month in The Drumbeat, the newsletter or e-zine put out monthly to support the Center for Action and Contemplation’s men’s spirituality group, Men as Learners and Elders (MALEs).

It’s still only being seen by a small, specialized ghetto of lay ministers, guys trying to heal old hurts, and mystics in training. But nevertheless, it was nice to get a nod from a group with a broader reach than I have personally. Cool to know that some dude over in Germany might now look at a pine tree in his own yard in a new way as a result of my poem. Fun also to make vague references to a spiritual powerhouse like Thomas Merton in the context of a poem.

If you want to see it in its original context, with the nice photo they chose to accompany it, click the Drumbeat title above. If not, here’s the material that went up over there, now re-posted here for friends and fans of Marking Time:

“I attended the last day of the August Illinois MROP as part of the re-gathering of previously Initiated Men. While trying to make it out to the fire circle for centering prayer on Sunday morning with the rest of the men, I had a quiet but powerful encounter with nature. The following poem was the result of my own moment of centering, before I could ever make it outside, a surprised-by-grace moment that occurred simply upon looking out the window of my room.”

Good morning,
delicate, fine-needled cedar or pine
of unknown species, yet divine,
whose deep-grooved bark awakens my soul,
(bark like canyons for ants on the prowl).

You reach your ballerina’s arm
toward my seven-story window,
tapping out a Morse Code message
to my True Self,
to welcome me to your day,
to your muggy, magnificent home.

Morning prayers started ten minutes ago.
But I am not late.
No. My appointment is to sit in your presence,
watching the Light as She brushes eastern edges,
as She crowns you with Her glory.

He who has eyes to see, let him see.
No words, no brothers or sisters,
no coffee, food, nor Tibetan gong–
Nothing else needed.
I sought you while you could be found,
responded to your silent sound,
and your deep green song
sang my pine-scented soul
completely awake.


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