Poetry

April 12, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

flickr photo

 

By

Jennifer Wenn

 

 

 

The Great Wall

 

 

August, blistering hot, unseen cicadas loudly rasping,

A different buzz than at home,

Crows cawing us on our way,

Me with my sunhat, heavy day pack,

Battered little red umbrella for a sun parasol,

Slowing down my much younger companions

As we hiked the great brick snake,

Up the ridge, following terrain,

Our potential path reaching

As far as the eye can see into the hills.

No one around, we three alone with

The buzz and the calls, the vistas and the heat,

The Wall and our reflections.

 

Centuries old, origins of its mostly vanished

Predecessor more than two millennia in the past,

Stretching through the ancient country

An imponderable distance, built to keep

The future invader, to keep chaos, out.

The power, the audacity to order it built,

The commitment, the subservience to translate

Command into hard reality.

For a time, a bulwark against the outside,

But long since overrun, a reminder

That all control, all rule, no matter

How fearsome or fixed-seeming, is, in the end,

Fleeting, an eddy in the great river of history.

 

Some parts now the domain of tourists,

Others abandoned to the crows and cicadas,

And the ghosts of the tens, hundreds of thousands

Who died bringing it all about,

Silently alongside as we climb and marvel.

Not a border or barrier anymore,

But now a part of the spectacular scenery,

Somehow enhancing the natural, setting it off.

Construction’s contemporaneous

Temporal power now superseded,

But the vision, the achievement,

The sacrifice, the lessons, remain.

 

 

 

 

Carmanah Walbran

 

 

Some years ago now we journeyed

To Vancouver Island.

This will be great!  said Graham,

Who lived in Vancouver,

While you’re here you have

To see Carmanah Walbran.

It’s one of the few patches

Of old growth rainforest left

On the island.  It’s very special.

Come the weekend I’ll cross

Over from the mainland;

We can meet up at

My brother-in-law Paul’s

Country place and go

From there.  Caught up in

His enthusiasm, we

(Andrew, Donna and I) agreed.

 

And so it came to pass.

Enjoy, said Paul, I’ll have

A barbecue ready when you

Return.  And so we

Bounced and jolted more than

Two hours on a logging road,

Filled with ruts and craters

Big enough, it looked, to swallow

The van, or least take off a wheel,

Pausing only to rest our labouring

Vehicle (and the driver) at a spectacular

View that suddenly presented itself.

Onward we forged, and then,

Finally, but suddenly, we were there,

The Welcome sign marking the

The gravel parking lot at the destination.

 

Alighting, we entered the domain

Of the ancient forest giants,

Towering majestically overhead,

Moss everywhere, clinging to

The massive trunks, hanging

From branches.  For sound,

Our footsteps, the occasional

Bird, the murmuring stream

When we were near it, the

Gentle roaring of the waterfall

In the distance,

And our attempted

Expressions of wonder.

 

For there was more here

Than a family of gentle titans.

We were embraced by a wave

Whose origins seemed

Lost in time, and from some

Other dimension entirely.

We all felt it; “It’s like there’s

A wisdom coming out of the

Trees” declared Graham; Paul later

Said simply “It’s a very spiritual place.”

Andrew and Donna wandered, in wonder.

As for me, I tried to find the words,

But didn’t, really.  I only knew,

Instinctively, that it was a place

Where the material universe parts a bit,

Opening a doorway.  It brought back

A memory from another place,

Far away, and from another time.

All too soon we reached the hour

To leave the sacred space.

We bounced and jolted

Our way out, blowing a tire

On the way, back to the barbecue,

To the rest of the trip, to the rest

Of our life journeys, but changed,

Maybe a bit, maybe profoundly.

 

Soaring Sitka Spruce, the largest

Impossibly high, magnificent

Douglas Fir, enormous Red Cedars

That have seen a millennium of

Rain and sun come and go.

Will we have the wisdom to

Let your realm remain, in peace,

For generations unborn to

Rediscover, to feel in their turn

The kinship, the embrace,

To find anew that doorway and

The connection.

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Wenn

Jennifer Wenn is a trans-identified writer living in London, Ontario. In addition to her day job as a Systems Analyst, she has spoken at a wide variety of venues and is actively involved with the Pride London Festival and other local organizations. She is also the proud parent of two adult children.  Her writings include From Adversity to Accomplishment, a family and social history; and In My Heart I’m Singing, a poetry chapbook (upcoming).

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