This poem began in a meadow up in the Scottish Highlands while my husband and I were visiting the ruins of a castle. He went inside to explore further, but I chose to stay behind and linger in the beautiful summer fields. As you have probably experienced yourself, this frequently leads the imagination to so many new places. It also presents an opportunity for a simple sensory awareness meditation. Just standing there looking and listening is a spiritual act in itself.
The challenge for me in this poem was to use a repeating word (“listen”) to create both mood and cadence in the lines. The decision to complete the poem with a repeating line (or couplet) was a very different way to close my own lyrical love song to nature.
[Note: the following two paragraphs were added here several months later when the poem was published by Dagda Publishing Company.]
On 3 March 2015, Dagda Publishing Company, a publisher of poetry and literature based in Nottingham, UK, featured this poem in their blog. It was a real honor to have had my poem chosen by this excellent publisher. This is what they had to say about the poem:
Today’s featured poem, and the first one in March, is this one from Mary Kendall. Inspired by a trip to Scotland, this piece has a naturalistic theme to it, and we feel is just perfect for this time of year, as we start to escape the cold and dark of winter and crawl toward summer and longer days. Musing upon the sounds of nature and imagining a song being sung by the choir of trees, flowers and the meadow itself, this piece has a touch of magical realism to it, of there being something fantastical just behind the ordinary and everyday. A poem full of the wonder of nature and the sense of being away from the familiarity of one’s normal life, we hope you enjoy this poem by Mary Kendall.
An audio clip of me reading this poem is included below. Click on the link below to hear it. It will take a few seconds to begin.
Have you ever been a few thousand miles from somewhere,
standing in meadow of sweet grass or barley and thistles,
bright pink bells of foxglove swaying in the wind,
and then you stop, just standing still and listening;
listening to the wind song of the leaves and grasses.
I asked them to tell me the words they sang to those
who stopped to listen. They heard me and replied,
but I could not understand what it was they said.
I waited and waited until the wind resumed its blowing,
the grasses their gentle whispering;
the leaves sang loudest of all, and I listened.
I listened the while.
I listened until the song ended,
and then I went on my way.
So far from home.
So far from home.