“Write a Map of Your Spiritual Journey”

“Write a Map of Your Spiritual Journey”

But childhood was not a plateau,
birth was not a low point
from which all other points
arose; childhood is not a bar graph
or a Gantt chart,
nor is it a star chart
of comparative brightness:
it is the soul’s bright geography,
the dark woodlot where my sister terrified
me with a headless snake
still writhing toward me
fifty years later.

Do you remember the place on the hill
toward which all people
streamed for twenty years
that flashed green and bright
as the Emerald City
then snuffed out
as if it had never been?

The soul’s journey has
her animal companions,
the repetitive landscape
of nightmare and dream,
murky with memory.
This journey needs a map
with rivers that run underground,
that run backward through time,
that loop through
love affairs that blossomed and fell from the tree,
evenings that dazzled,
trees that burst into flame still standing as
landmarks in a burning swamp
where St. Elmo’s blue breath
throws the antique shadows of ibis
into time’s rippling stream.

If we speak of maps dangerous
as these, you must know there is a man
holding three fingers in warning;
there is a crossroad almost unseen
out of the corner of your eye.
This is populated wilderness—
even the desert has its signs of banded gold,
as sand shifts down into the dune
of geologic time.

My hair has stood on end
in an electric wind.
The sealstone on my wrist tells a story.
Helen, the world’s treasure,
has spoken personally to me, and I
have tried to turn her away.
I follow my own dreams—
a silver fox, a golden dog,
a woman named Nightwinds,
and a soul boat on the River of Stars.
I have been stopped by barriers of height and stone,
by fire and snake.

I have been known to turn
reasonably away, and thus
a map is shaped, some neat
and faded label re-inked,
strengthened on the page:
“Here lies true north,”
and south–I’ve been there,
to the east, memory,
to the west, terra incognita,
the calling land
and the road ahead.

–Sandy Jensen

One thought on ““Write a Map of Your Spiritual Journey””

  1. Ah yes, maps as dangerous as these. Last week I could not sleep. I closed my eyes to see a screen of blood, violence, a home, a dead family. I could not sleep. The next morning the news revealed that this had happened the night before in LA. I asked myself, what good is it to get such dangerous and disturbing information such as this. I journaled the incident and apologized to the people who left in such a desperate way. Find another guide, I cannot help you. Let this journal entry be my blessing to you – look around for someone familiar to point the way. Look for light.
    Something let me off the hook at that point. Mom always said that you can say no. I said no and I was left in peace.

    A heavy duty poem to be digested slowly. Sorry about the snake, truly. Kids are such jerks sometimes.

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