filters through swamp oaks ~
a cathedral moment
as a tiding of magpies
fills it with song
Finding inner solitude today in these final days of lockdown after 112 days of retreat from the world.
June 23rd we knew Lockdown was in inevitable and so we stopped at our small apartment in the coastal town The Entrance, which gave us the feeling of being on a retreat rather than being at home, rather than a holiday, because we could not travel further than 5km. Now it has been 16 weeks of searching for inner solitude. My tanka above was not the one chosen for the Eucalypt 31 but it speaks of our days here.It sums up the days of walks the birds our only companions and the ‘being’ rather then the ‘doing’as the frameworks of meeting with family, friends, writing groups, art gallery, concerts, gatherings for launches and celebrations even funerals, fell away.
What are we left with we older ones who are not homeschooling. holding down jobs, working from home and keeping spirits of children high.?
Then I found the perfection of the sonnet by Longfellow speaks brilliantly of my sentiment.
Emily Dickinson grapples with the same in her brilliant way.
Like Dickinson, Longfellow finds that the one-to-one confrontation occurs best in nature:
And now for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Like two cathedral towers these stately pines
Uplift their fretted summits tipped with cones;
The arch beneath them is not built with stones,
Not Art but Nature traced these lovely lines,
And carved this graceful arabesque of vines;
No organ but the wind here sighs and moans,
No sepulchre conceals a martyr’s bones.
No marble bishop on his tomb reclines.
Enter! the pavement, carpeted with leaves,
Gives back a softened echo to thy tread!
Listen! the choir is singing; all the birds,
In leafy galleries beneath the eaves,
Are singing! listen, ere the sound be fled,
And learn there may be worship without words.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (1807–82), American poet
– is known for ‘The Wreck of the Hesperus’ and ‘The Village Blacksmith’ (both 1841) and The Song of Hiawatha (1855).
And now my brilliant friend Emily Dickinson
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church — 324 or 326
by Emily Dickinson
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church —
I keep it, staying at Home —
With a Bobolink for a Chorister —
And an Orchard, for a Dome —
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice —
I just wear my Wings —
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton — sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman —
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last —
I’m going, all along.
In the above photo
my cathedral is not of stately pines
but of vibrant grass trees and banksia
old river gums, iron barks and acacias
ancients rocks carved from wind and sea
and whispers of spirit under every footprint I take
and when I listen the choir in my cathedral
is full of the healing and comforting sounds of home