Shadow Work

Photo by brenoanp on

I wrote this poem last year. It is the first I’ve posted on here from a series of poems that I wrote throughout last summer into winter. During quarantine, I spent a lot of time alone. It was a quiet period in my life full of reflection and contemplation. I spent a good amount of times studying the stars, space, astrology, and astronomy. As I studied it, it made it’s way into the poems I was writing. Many nights, I would just go out and reconnect with the night sky. It was an incredibly healing and positive thing for me. It gave me pause to reflect on my place in the vast universe. I found so much healing, contemplation, and comfort connecting with the night sky. It kept me balanced and grounded in a time where I could have been anything but. The poems in this collection reflect this. For me, the natural world has always been healing, right up there with writing. The two often come together in my writing. As I look back at what I wrote, I was contemplating so much, and it’s clear that the ability to go out and look at the stars and re-connect with nature, definitely allowed me to work through a lot of things in my life. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to really go inward and to connect with something bigger than myself. The poems in that collection are my souvenirs from the months of taking trips outside to learn and grow. The night sky is such a blessing. It’s helped me grow and given me so much inner-peace. The poems I wrote during this time were out of deep gratitude for the magnificence of the world, it’s natural beauty, and all that it can teach us if we just introduce ourselves to it.

Shadow Work

The full barley moon rises over the September fields.
Light flows down onto the land unlocking maps.
There’s been absence here. A traffic jam of silence.
Wounds sleep on eyelids. Dreams scab and hatch
rivers of questions that have me leaking blood.
Where did the beautiful imagery go? My imagination started answering
In images of moons over cornfields. September yawning,
as she takes over the shift of time. August,
laid down like Sleeping Beauty, entering into
a full year of sleep until July kisses her once more
with those ripe summer lips that awakens us all.
I’ve been lost in a cornfield. It was an easy way
to blend myself into something. I was staring
at one dimensional pictures for too long,
finding the flatness of the pictures nostalgic.
The past is not always present, but the present
Is always on the lip of becoming the past.
Pictures of escapes, moments of fame or recognition,
precise depictions of what makes us self-conscious.
The reason when somebody says, ‘You’re beautiful,’
you bat at it like it’s a bat about to fly into your hair.
I was there. In the boxes, becoming one dimensional.
I suddenly longed to be part of something alive.
I headed into a field of corn, bushwhacked
my way through the dry, dying stalks until
I lost my way. I am good at being lost.
Not so great at finding myself. Here,
I laid watching the moon grow fuller and fuller
Each night. Life in process, in motion.
When rain pelted the dry corn, I laid in the muddied soil,
imitating some sort of seed. Enduring
what weather patterns might come my way
if it meant sprouting a story, an image,
a passage way out of my current story
and into something new. I cried with the sky,
thirsted with the dirt, and laughed as the dry stalks
and small field bugs tickled my skin.
I was alive in ways nobody would ever witness.
The story was mine. The feelings ripe.
I animated stories of the clouds passing by.
Dreamed of being able to float through this atmosphere
graciously without hinderance.
I did not think about being missed or missing things.
I laid there knowing when the time was right,
I would be shown my way out of the field.
Perhaps, I dreamed too big, imagining
I’d walk out that field a completely changed person
unrecognizable to the person in those one dimensional photos.
When the full corn moon rose and light led me out,
I was dirtier, a bit optimistic, ready for something new.
Still, that night when I emerged, I looked behind me
and saw something I recognized, my shadow.
It was still there, pretty much the same, still following me,
and that night something did change.
I acknowledged my shadow, greeted it, said “hello,”
turned around and continued walking
toward town with the moonlight above me
and my shadow behind me.

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