The Saint of the Lake (2017) with Recording by Sean Mc Dermott

The saint of the lake sits high in a sequoia

that grows from an ait kissed by mild waves.

Alone yet expansive, the art of silence

presses the holy woman’s heart between two ferns,

releasing notes of dried clover, cornflower, and marigold.

Rain begins and the saint stirs, prays and praises

the blesséd cover of a thick branch overhead,

its tough bark more waterproof than a nimbus.

Though distance obscures the hermit’s face,

one brown palm is visible against the green.

Cupping the rainfall has awakened her birthing sense,

and she is listening to the tadpoles’ legs emerging,

the fox lining her den with leaves for the coming kits,

and the egg-teeth of baby finches tapping their shells into openness,

their long embryonic wait almost at an end.

When the creased cup of the saint’s hand overflows,

she empties its reservoir with a dancing turn of the wrist.

Backing closer to the tree’s broad column,

she gathers heels into the thighs’ shelter

and circles warm knees with her arms.

Breathing into the curled nest of a compassionate self,

she sleeps in Love, heartbeats lapping in sync

with the lake’s gentle rhymes deep below.

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