The Healers

 

 

 

 

The healers

 

They are coming down

from the holy mountains,

in from the greenwood or sea.

Women who knit bones, stitch wounds

and brew cures in tea or broth. Women

 

who cleanse their hair

with juniper leaves and smudge the house

with sweet grass or sage.

 

They are coming down

in different shadows cast

along the evening field, sometimes beach,

women who emerge

from the shape of wolf, deer or seal

 

and occasionally

swan or crow

depending on the case

and what’s ever needed

 

to make the mind and body heal. The heart

circulate more than blood.

 

They are coming down

through the dead ages, the runic stones,

the calfskin scrolls of a book,

women who know the language

of plants and stars, the secrets of shell

and reef, the safety of salt and circles.

 

They are coming back

with their wick-burning lamps and a long pause

to study all of you.

 

A bird claw for their comma,

sometimes a crescent moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 comments

  1. Wendy, I have read this poem several times now. I grew up thinking/knowing somewhere in my ancestry must dwell a Native American woman whose dna informed my seeking medicinal knowledge from plants. Though I have only family genealogy reports and no proof, I cherish the spirit that has led me to stay close to nature. The study of Scripture has taught me that observing Nature is one way to know God exists. Who else, really, could have created the workings inside a honeybee colony or a butterfly chrysalis or a human ear?

    You caught my attention when you said they’re coming “to study all of YOU” instead of all of US. I have cleansed my hair with juniper and brewed hundreds of cups of various plant teas. However interesting it might be, I can’t recall emerging from another animal and I don’t know anything about the language of stars or the secrets of reef. Your writing always captivates me, makes me stay awhile longer.
    ptc

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  2. “They are coming down

    through the dead ages, the runic stones,

    the calfskin scrolls of a book,

    women who know the language

    of plants and stars, the secrets of shell

    and reef, the safety of salt and circles.”

    Wendy,

    That stanza makes me feel their presence. i absolutely love the tone
    and language and its effect.

    the closing two lines gave me a little frisson along my spine.
    As always, great poetry.. You have a grand talent !

    Sarah

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  3. Hi Lynn

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting on these poems! I deeply appreciate it and am glad you could relate — especially that you found something of hope in the message and content!

    Hi Ptc

    I deeply appreciate your wonderful response and the impressions you have shared with me! I believe nature is God’s most powerful pharmacy and closer we come to nature, the closer we come to Him! I have often been fascinated by shamans, Druids and other cultures that have healing of the spirit and body related to plant life, animals and other mystic elements of the universe. I have often read tales of shape shifting where for medicinal or personal reasons people have the power to shift from animal to human and back again, in some way learning new things about themselves, nature and the process of life’s revitalization. In the poem, the shape-shifting may be taken literally or metaphorically. I leave that up to the reader; but I have read Indigenous people’s accounts of shape shifting mentally into a particular animal or animal spirit for healing purposes as well as wisdom. A beautiful gift of the mind and the imagination. Again, thank you so much for your lovely commentary!

    Hi Sarah

    Your kind words and enthusiasm toward this poem are so deeply valued! I am glad you enjoyed reading this and as always, enjoy reading your perspective on my poetry. It really means so much to me. This was inspired by those women, myth and what is happening unfortunately to our modern day health care system. I do believe people , who can, will turn to the older ways an alternative methods that have been proven sometimes over centuries to have merit and significance. Again many thanks!

    My Best to all of you
    Wendy

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  4. Wendy I loved this. Here legend speaks of shape shifters, in both positive and negative ways. As for the alternative medicines, which we call ‘bush medicine’ , they are part and parcel of life here. Whilst we go to doctors when we are ill, we have almost all of us, at some point used natural remedies for one ailment or another… am about to boil some Moringa leaves to make a drink. ;

    Regards,

    Maryse

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  5. Hi Maryse

    That Moringa tea sounds really good — and thank you for your lovely commentary. I am so glad you enjoyed this poem. Shape-shifters as well as herbal or bush medicine as always fascinated me; and I do believe that some of the older ways have their place and their potency in healing. Again thank you!

    My Best
    Wendy

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