When skirted by a river’s confluence,
a mountain range, or other natural boundary,
a meadow is an optimal gathering place; lush cradle
with its own established treaty rites
of diplomacy and abundance.
The word meadow’s English etymology
precedes the dissolution of the monasteries
and the routine cadastral measurement of land.
So it leaves a soft cast in the throat,
a taste of Edenic green in its syllables.
Meadow is a woven basket
pressed under epochal currents,
reaping old arrows of hunger,
sifting hard mineral traces of appetite.
A gang of fifty elk saunter
the leeward edge as one body;
the last of the light hemming
across mountain crowns.
The elk press, slow and deliberate,
until the meadow is defined,
a rippling frontier
between their calves
hidden in the marsh grass
and me, walking slowly backwards,
pulses thudding across
the ridges of my fists.
To conceptualize the words
of faith, I was taught to
hold a phantom sword
in my hand and study the verses
by its points.
An allegory of conquest
so simple a child
can understand it.
Is there a sin to avoid?
Is there a promise to believe?
Is there an example to follow?
Is there a command to obey?
Many perceive heaven
in the form of a meadow. The path of righteousness
is carpeted with violet flowers. The open
field symbolizes doctrine; faith is grasses.
I am too close, and have forgotten
that I am a stranger here.
Ochre ripples of hair
crest on the nearest elk.
The crown of my head
is the blade tip pointing
to the dark opal of sky:
What can be inferred about the divine?