Walking Alone in Winter Woods

Walking Alone in Winter Woods

Sometimes in winter
I walk alone, deep within the woods.
Cold wind whispers through bare branches
When late in afternoon
Darkness begins to grow.

Of course, I shiver—
Fight against a bitter fear
That clings upon the heart
With quiet piercing chill.
How changed it is from when
Summer woods were lush and green.

Yet even in this silence
Found in opening of the year,
Wild music soft as clinking crystal ice;
Rustling of dead reeds that wraps
Around river’s frozen bend.

Sitting upon the bed of snow,
I yearn to catch deep meaning
Brought by biting wind that blows,
Sense a subtle bond that links,
Lingering among old trees.

Some may think this a barren time.
For me it is close to paradise—
This fading glint of dazzling light
Against a silent world of white
Stretching endless to horizon of my sight.

All This Has Happened Before


When you bow your head and fall to your knees,
Knowing day departs and darkness will be long—
Open the unblinking eye within,
Live close to open water, down where blue heron stands,
One leg holding body steady, without a sound
Watch wild beasts on the hill and serpents in their den.

Of course your soul will resist and regret
When walking on steep path, thirsting, wanting sleep
While wondering if dawn will come again.
Guard your heart and never trust his clever lies.
Be angry that cripples have seized the throne,
Ensnaring all who dream of gold in the tall dark tower.

Hope comes when the eye begins to see in the dark,
Knows the purity of cold despair.
In years to come, mind will enter itself again.
Until then, trust that gods still hear your cries.
And never, never grow accustomed to the dark.
All this once happened before, and worse.

As Healing Darkness Descends….

healing-darknessAs Sun began to set behind the hills,
I walked through rain to the cabin,
Almost hidden, alone within woods.
Slowly, darkness descended upon the Earth.

Sitting before the fire, I sensed original myth,
Enormous, carrying upon its shoulders an entire
World of meaning, echoing with a whisper
Where no words could give shape or definition,
Only virgin secrecy of silence as the rain fell.

All words poured down into the ground,
Without judgment, drenching thick layers of fallen leaves
Laying upon sodden ground, covering the dead,
Soaking the little valley, washing away
Whatever sins and memories had been cherished.

Absolutely alone at last, I sensed an innocence emerge,
Perfect in its wholeness, needing nothing….
Like the storm, no one predicted it, no one started it,
No one will raise a hand to stop it.

It will last as long as it wants—
This rain upon dry bones. I can only surrender,
Watch and listen as long as it lasts,
Sit quietly before fading coals— washed clean,
Finally liberated even from the need to pray.

Only then was something new awakened,
Light pouring forth from darkness,
New Heaven and New Earth cleansed,
Infinitely fragile and powerful,
Once again, something beautiful that does not sleep.

Deep Blessing

Deep BlessingBorders of my life
Go far beyond horizon,
So know that whatever words
I find or choose to shape this poem
Cannot plumb the depths of who I am—
Width of years, clarity of tranquil peace or
intensity of storms I’ve faced.

You must read between the lines—
Come so close you breathe my breath,
Learn to view as though you see
Through my eyes this love, this source,
The world entire as One…
That infinite yet finite place where you and I
Desire union with the Whole.

I cannot love God except that I love you,
Trust your heart though I know you not—
This conscious act of primal faith a communion
More precious than any bread and wine.
I have lost whatever control I never had,
So though I tremble as I stumble through the words,
What matters are my warm tears—
Which I now share with you as prayer is shared with God.

Approach so close you hear my silent song,
Traveling through the world
Though I cannot walk, but only fly
As solitary hawk whose vision sees but partial view,
Cannot land or touch the Earth but only soar.
Did I say I see? How so, when I am blind?
Do you sense significance in what I cannot say?
My God, I pray you do this day.

For you, for me to glimpse the entire plan—
To encounter if only once the veil that hides
Whatever willful Light illuminates this constant evolution
Is Deep Blessing yet cannot be held within the human mind.
What shall we call this gift of benediction?
Though we know we daily live in sorrow, die alone,
We live in hope we briefly see behind the veil.
This is no sport, no game but life itself
Filled with futility to faintly grasp its meaning.

We are companions— you and I sharing
Spirit that draws us into itself— forward,
Closer to the inner core, autonomous,
invisible yet strangely real,
Daring us to be alive— Here at Home
I know that you and I are Souls who breathe,
Where Deepest Blessing is to say
“Always, it is okay.” for love
Seems forever all there is.

Cherish This Ecstasy!


Today stretched out an extra hour

Yet darkness came too soon.

I prayed; I hurt; I prayed again

When white swan appeared in flight.

What sign is this? What omen pierces me awake?


I thought of Meister Eckhart—“The greater the nudity,

The greater the union,” he preached to women.

The church waited until his death,

Then clubbed, burned and slaughtered

Those whose wings had lifted them in flight.


Late at night, I hoped my dreams

Would bring a greater light— always looking for a sign,

Passion pouring in and in and in until

Bed and room enlarged to find some deeper union

Miles within where darkness flies upon its wings.


I am never alone, that much I know.

But there are those times I ask—

“Am I also loved?” I cannot help but wonder.

In darkness, do I find only emptiness within the void?

In blindness, have I faith enough to see angelic wings?


In every email I send— a quote from Dostoyevsky,

“All is an Ocean. All flows and connects so powerfully

that if, in this life, you manage to become more gracious

by even a drop, it is better for every bird, child and animal

your life touches than you will ever know….


Start praying to birds in an ecstasy!

Cherish this ecstasy, however senseless it may seem to people.”

Each day I search upon the lake for swans or geese or ducks,

Their heads bowing as do Buddhist monks in gratitude.

In times of desolation, I thank the world for love transpierced.


I offer thanks to birds and to you, dear reader,

For I trust you also long to see white wings take flight,

Search for signs in day or night, fly upon late hour,

Compelled by need or desire for ecstasy.

What greater holy icon can we claim or hope to find?

Even a single moment in a lifetime may suffice.



In A Rising Wind


 I live my life in the in-between—

Between surf and shore,

Amid each rising and setting of the Sun,

As one dream bleeds into the next,

Arising from unconscious depths at night.

I walk through each season,

Knowing whatever lines are drawn

Between fall and winter, spring and summer,

Are not real, though my face stings

From snowflake to pounding rain to winds that blow,

Sand in eyes causing tears to flow.


And so is the journey of my life—

Stumbling upon every stone on the path,

Each stone precious though it may

Cause me to fall, losing balance.

Losing is a central chapter in the book,

Almost every achievement but a marker

Among many loses, each gathering

More than matched by scattering.

Yet still I love the world!


Each death bitterly stings as I turn away

Only to find the wind also shifts,

Pushes me, insistent in its urging,

Soundless voices that I daily question,

Wondering how I might reconcile each loss,

Perceive a road from true affections.


Only when I stop to look behind

Can I count deserted camp-sites,

Fires dwindling, ashes rising from hot coals

Still burning in memory against dark nights.

Those times I kneel to pray,

Hope to gather strength, to hear distant elders—

Perhaps whispers from the Nameless God….

Revel in moment of brief joy

Before the wheel turns yet again.


All I know is that I know I am not

What I once was… The crooked road

From which I have strayed,

Has a complexity that advances

Toward unseen horizon. Whether I am alone

Or there are angels hidden in mist or shadows—

I cannot say for certain. Though I blunder,

Stumble though each day, I still walk

Unsteadily with the given strength,

Trusting this winding path

Is where I need to go, each step

A step of slow transformation—

Though even Moon is covered by clouds,

My breath still full of longing for full Light.


They Turn the Wind to Whispers

"Headwinds" ---Fred Turpin's Poetry Blog

Old pinesThey make their stand together,
Huddled so they turn wind to whispers.
As fog creeps in, they seem to soak their feet,
Raise their skirts above bony knees,
Thin long legs more sturdy than they seem.

Always humble, never single do they speak,
But candid in their contribution to the glade.
This stand of pine was here before my birth.
I trust they’ll still be standing when I’m gone.
One language do they speak with needle tongues.

If you are running fast, you’ll miss their quiet grace.
Pause one morning in your hurried race;
Breathe deeply into your lungs the fragrance offered.
Be grateful for what they offer to the world.
Tell me what you think they whisper in full moon.

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