I have been here before,
Carved your life out in my dream.
The language of the trees has guided
Me to your heart and mind
Where I have absorbed
The truth of your world.
Allow me to tell you
The truth of mine.
The trees are like what you call
Crossroads, connecting souls to dreams
That have existed long before
The Forest was an Idea.
At least, this is what I believe,
But the elders say the trees
Gestated the dreams within amniotic
Sap, their inner rings arranged
In non-linear, unending tales—
(Of course—I should explain:
I am choosing words
In your dialect,
But in my world,
Stories naturally follow
The cycle of seasons
Instead of beginning, middle,
I was a Wordwitch,
Someone who crafts meaning
From the Forest’s dreams.
I was not granted this title:
My purpose was a vision benighted
Of a tree cracking open from its trunk,
Spilling shavings of signs,
Syllables, sinuous syntax,
And the silent language of symbols.
At first, my tribe thought this an omen,
And I was told to dream more fortunate fables
Of foraging jewel-like fruits that do not ripen
Until touched by the breath of elders;
Of molding a clay family from the willing earth,
Or of smoothing tears on the surface of our sky
So the stars will not tremble
And grow cold.
I know I was called because I was
I could not curtail my spirit’s path
Any more than the trees could stop
Their slow but certain growth
To the core of all things,
The center of the universe
Above and below.
I began to wonder about the dreams of my loved ones,
Who collected night-visions as though grim tokens,
Elaborate badges carved in skin as well as bark:
A dream of your first born; a dream of your first foray
Into the Forest at the behest of the elders;
A dream of your predestined spouse;
A dream of your childhood retold,
The past reinterpreted by what is yet to come;
A dream of future triumph, of promised peace;
The fated dream of your calling.
These dreams were not those I saw
When I drank in the sap of the trees
And felt the moonlight synthesize
(Within us, and without us)
The lifeblood of a single soul’s meaning
With the pulse of the primeval;
The essence of the collective
Fusing splintered veins
That were cleverly crafted
So I questioned my elders,
Asked why it was so forbidden
To have seen the dreams of others clotted
In the woodwork, knotted nests of potential
Unsensed, and why the ink my tribesmen
Took to their bodies did not match the patterns
I knew: I had dreams of their skin splitting,
Exposing their secret suffering,
Their flesh aching with the weeping rings
Of stories unspoken.
The elders’ wizened smiles scorched scarlet—
These timeworn redwoods struck at last by lightning:
The godless dreams of mine from Source unseen
Challenged a world (that I at once saw)
They had created and curated,
Positions in society contrived
By careful measure.
I was banished from my home,
Granted no pardon, no farewell:
The Forest of Dreams
When(ce) I have since
Never been able
I have not told you my name,
Because my name is yours.
This is the fate of my sight:
To exist as the many markings etched
Beneath your bark of chosen words,
And to remain in your mind unframed
By the clear order of the trees.
Still: to house me,
I know your Will
Will be your own.