Stigmata – Lent Seventeen

The earth bears the stigmata
of our long eternal wanderings
Here and there bare scuff marks
tell the spots where we paused for water
where we studied afresh the fading maps
reconsidered the sheer folly of following
beyond the point`of`no`return realizing
it was already too late ever to return
Over there the sooty rocks where we cooked
Nearby the cross`legged fossils
where we sat as we ate
And not far away the hard`packed dirt where
as weary sleepers we laid our bones
down under the cool blue star`light
Even where once in the night we were one
Any child in the village could read the signs
but not even an elder could tell us the why
Like migrating whales or butterflies
Lent brings us out of our souls’ doldrums
to wander once again about the land
as though in search of something
once ours then lost again
But having been still ours
We feel so alone in this wilderness
Yet if all the stigmata were given voice
if all the lingering shadows of past and future
could somehow step up to the fire`light
we would find ourselves surrounded
by the dusty faces of all the sojourners
their voices thirsty to sing the old ballads
their feet fairly cramping to join the reel
to the lone coyote’s howl from the ridge
Not for the duration but for the night


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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4 Responses to Stigmata – Lent Seventeen

  1. my ghosts are angels who comfort me

    Liked by 1 person

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