There are times when a mind must
From its age-old sustenance.
The sunlight burns
And blinds with a wilderness of sensations.
The winter chills the young Dreamer
With the terrible frost of self-doubt,
And the white winds howl like winter wolves
Of a time of hunger and reckoning.
The leaves of your childhood are barren, my friend.
Remember how the mint in them once was fresh,
Even ecstatic to the palate,
And it made you grow
From a naked, slavering worm,
Into the courtly, painted creature you are now;
But now the leaves are dried and brown,
And you have eaten all of the good out of them
So that only the mean husk remains.
Once you loved to listen to the birds:
The hawk and eagle with their piercing martial cry.
The hoot of owls steeled you,
And the raven's croak gave you no fear;
It even made you feel strong,
That you could withstand their terrors.
But their song is old now,
And it has slowly crept into your skin
To stifle and smother you.
And the other painted ones around you
They are lost in themselves
Claiming to have found the leaf of eternal spring,
They fasten themselves resolutely to it,
And will have no other,
But when winter comes
Their leaves often fall from the tree, heavy with
Their bloated reliance.
You must not make this mistake, my friend.
Not to a leaf, but to trunk of the tree fasten yourself,
And drink deep the blood of its wisdom.
The most ancient and the most recent ichor;
Let these alike be your sustenance.
Drink and feel the swelling of silk within you.
Turn away from your fellows,
Lest you see them falling and lose courage,
For the white winds are howling
And bird and beast now face a time of hunger and reckoning.
Cling to the trunk and draw forth its nectar
As you swell and your painted skin becomes silk.
Do not fear the darkness which encloses you.
Instead, let it be your silence,
For how much better silence is for listening
To your own thoughts
And to the echoes of all that has befallen you in the past.
You may despair at first.
You may long for the sun's rays and fresh sensation,
Your thoughts will turn to spring
And to her that shall fly to you on golden wings.
George Chadderdon © 1995