Dream lines (a sestina)


Mornings I walk forest paths always.
It helps focus the senses, calms my dread
of human necessity. Passing fallen trunks I dream
of stories to tell, a few hearty lines:
the wisdom of a woodland silence.
I greet my friends the kinglet, creek and beech.

My arms reach around the grey beech.
Its smooth, cool bark always
draws me bodily to thrumming silence.
It penetrates truths humanity must dread.
Rootlets thread their countless neural lines
to a sleeping god’s dream.

Millennia past, people left the dream
and walked upright from shelter of the beech.
Growing accustomed to open lines
of sight, they always
sought unnatural security. They dread
their own final, inscrutable silence.

Losing patience with nature’s supposed silence
they filled their heads with a louder dream
and armed with lightning dread
to split the heart of any beech.
They believe our minds superior, always
measuring the truth with bottom lines.

In dark soil under mushrooms I find the lines
of dialogue of roots in silence,
rich as rot, trading nutrients, connected always.
Trees brew chlorophyll when they dream.
A master engineer indwells the beech.
Ignorance of the plan should be our dread.

I choke on our dread
arrogance, persistently following the lines
of acquisition, betraying simplicity. The beech
trunk embraces my numb silence.
Earth citizens could still interpret the dream
to guide us safely always.

Have dread unless you fathom the conscious silence.
I walk the forest lines each day. Each night I dream
that beech and crow will speak there always.

A sestina is a poem using the same six words in a strict order to end the lines in each stanza. I was in a mood for wordplay today and used the poem to explore the idea of panpsychism, which I heard about recently on a segment on CBC Ideas. It’s based on the premise that consciousness is an inherent quality of the universe rather than a byproduct of complex neural physiology.

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