Another exceptional piece from Jacqueline Shields. Have a good read.
To The Cathedral of St Ferns
Here I stand, sunlit and facing my fate amidst the trees,
Small and trembling, the weight of the world on my knees.
Chest heaving, lungs screaming. An underleaf world of warm dampness.
Teething with secret life, ready to erupt, to blossom. No madness.
The moss and leaves would muffle my footsteps.
Every surface, every colour appears soft in this forest.
Shafts of filtered light welcome my gaze in the dawn of time.
The ferns would lick my feet shyly as I step into the sublime.
That knot in the tree, that whisk in the wood.
I would run my fingers upon them. If only I could. I should.
“Into the woods I go to loose my mind and find my soul”
But as my muscles tense, I ask – do trunks have the power to console ?
So still I stand, blinking in the shrine, timid as a newborn.
Curious yet afraid. To be brave in a world so stubborn.
Of centuries unseen, battles unknown and heroes unsung.
A cursed blessing, to be wise in a time so young.
I would gladly accept my fate for the life of another.
Abandon myself to mother’s ivy, be rocked into a slumber.
As I watch the leaves silently rustles the devout air,
As I listen the dark bark whispers its secret prayer.
A litany like one I have never heard before.
A psalm from the night, graces that restore.
The meaning, alas, I have yet to decipher.
The healing I yearn, by ice or by fire.
Should I stay or should I go ? Decision to numb my shadow,
Should I trade this world of rockus or let it be all I ever know ?
Behind me I hear the hords clanging up the beaten path,
Hooves hitting rock, metal sparking with their wrath.
Kings, honour, lands and battles to be fought.
This past could be left behind, dreams could be caught.
Through the light shines the darkness, engulf me whole.
I lived to serve. Now a new seed is planted in my soul.
I should turn back, duty calls to enter the blackhole,
“Back on the path I go, to find my kind and loose control”.
I am no deserter, but in their eyes it would be breaking laws.
But would it be treason to be loyal to a peaceful cause ?
Cities burning to the ground, ashes rising to the sky,
My knuckles still gleaming raw will drip until they dry.
Heaven has to wait, forever and another day,
Until then I shall wear my pain and kneel down to pray.
Hurtle into woods, disappear in one breathe.
Although I can run forever, I don’t pretend it would trick death.
Only to find some sanctuary, within this chapel of green,
Lord have mercy, grant me entrance, wash me clean.
The rain patters softly on the alter of the treetop.
My sword and life for your Bible, seems to me a worthy swap.
Hallelujah and Amen, I will praise you till the end of time.
If only you can transcend me and forgive me for all my crime.
To the Cathedral of St Ferns I would owe my salvation.
I chose to walk forth and forsake my damnation.
Not once shall I look back when from the tips of my sole,
« Into the ferns I go to escape mankind and become whole ».
All rights reserved to the author. 2019.