Do you ever wonder what you know?
Did Moses ever think to go
back to bush to watch for fire
and hear the holy words again?
For me it was only an old field.
I have been back more than once,
perplexed at how ordinary in the light
of late afternoon, or morning,
or the glare of noon. It’s gone.
Whatever was is not now. It seems
a shame, the un-tame rush replaced
by shrug and stolen glance at time,
the slow ride home for reheated leftovers
to sustain my aging. It was fall
when I went wandering
blazed paths through pungent hush
of hickory, beech, and white oak stands
to forest edge at right-of-way,
cut straight across the curve of hills
where I stood blinking back the light.
By the sun-splashed shores
of an old field grown wild
breaking over asphalt slabs
which once went somewhere
beyond the post hole fence
that vainly holds back green
swells of sumac and thistle
tangled in turbulence
sparkling in the silent roar
of a thin place
onto an emerald sea
in the presence of which
I would remove my shoes
wash my soul in sunlight
and float the timeless warmth
to a new heaven
and a new earth.
But that was all, and over soon,
just slant of light and insect drone,
no still small voice that could be heard
above the buzz and background trill,
so was it somehow up to me
to say aloud what hangs in air?
All flesh is grass, its beauty as
the flower of the field
that dies with fall – been said by better
than one who wanted just right then
no more than now and this sweet earth
of distant laughter, lovers strolling,
stoic mother gently holding sleek
cell phone and squirming child. Right
there beneath the freshening breeze
a shadow passed inside of me:
You hear your heart
not that of mine.
And in the voiceless hush I heard
a hymn of weeds set in my mind:
Take the sun and set your roots,
soften earth and heal the scars.
Who’s to say where words come from,
and now I wonder what to know.
For several seasons I’ve returned
with notebook, pen, and open mind.
Perhaps I'll catch their song again
and some day discern
what hides in the silence inside.