The Ancient Modern

The Forest Shade  /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

strangely silent, 
that moment before I’m tied
once more to the waking world,

to a bed and a window, to pale walls
replacing the dream-floor
of a mountain forest, scattered

with bowing, tossing flowers. Flowers
on long, delicate stems bobbed and searched
with energetic purpose. And though

the dream-sky’s nearly windless,
each flower searches and nods, like ducks
dabbling in a verdant pond,

or a kaleidoscope of butterflies
tied by silk strings, each hungrily
examining the little circle of the world 

allowed by the length of its tether.
(My sleeping mind names them poppies,
though some variety able to thrive

in forest shade.) I talked with them
and they answered in forest sounds—a river
for vowels and consonants of birds’ songs—  

giving way unhurriedly to that space
of strangely silent light. Was Someone
waiting there, within the light?

Within the wonder of the dream? 
Still wondering,
I awoke. 

Sometimes, I dream 
that I have become blind. And the grief 
is that I remember what it was to see

and memory is scars of light
in the darkness. We cannot dream
of worlds without light. Only 

of worlds from which the light 
has been lost. Sight is something more
than eyes. More deep, even, than the act

of seeing. Sight remains
when eyes die and the soul is scarred 
with memory. The soul  

has its own eyes. Unused. Yet
in their long neglect, perhaps
they send us dreams of Light


All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2021 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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