Nature’s First Green

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Nature’s First Green

The beauty of the world is the mouth of a labyrinth.

—Simone Weil

As we wove our way inward

on that marigold June day,

our steps became sacred acts:

winding, unwinding,

feet on dirt that made us us,

dirt that also made us Earth’s.

We need only be mammals,

at home on this ground—

reverence the one demand.

We walked not toward diversion

but reconciliation,

this shape not a maze

but something else, a single

path revealing honeyed core.

In circling, we saw the same

scene several circuits:

a garden, its fence, a stand

of green trees, and obliquely

understood, or came to see,

we were being seen.

We were the woods thick with vine,

the bees, bark, and brambles.

In bloom, our yearning bodies

cast their golden thread.

Silence stilled us, then sound, for

in the center Sara sang

a song she’d learned from Zen monks

to keep the world whole.

Then, the dogwood’s early leaves

brought Frost’s poem to my lips,

and Paul, who knew it, joined in,

our voices braiding.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

and Elizabeth Bishop

kept our flame lit, true to form.

Land, in placing us,

sets us on our course: we turn

and return to live in place.

We left hand in hand, forming

a human chain to

lead us out of metaphor

back into a vaster life,

our nature changed. By nature,

nothing gold can stay.

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Gabriel Dunsmith’s poems have appeared in Poetry and are forthcoming in On the SeawallAppalachian Review, and elsewhere. A graduate of Vassar College, he lives in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Photo credit: Cat Gundry-Beck


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