Disembodied – And Closing the Gap


Art Work  –  Iren Schio



The drifting root

floats through empty space

a piece of lifeless wood

split in two directions.

One skyward, the other leans right

both paths lead nowhere.


The feather preened

and left behind

has no bird attached,

becomes a warlock’s wand.

Tattered two toned wing

suspended root, draped

over dead white – a reminder

of what has been –

and will soon be lost again.



Roots sink deep

in lively conversation

beneath the forest floor

exchange news,

cooperate with elders

who surrender

ancestral wisdom to

to feed starving children.


The Cloud People

pour down

mineral rich

moisture, soaking

desert scrub

healing cracks

and splits.

Bare paths

ooze mud.


Red Willow River

shrinks and swells.

One storm –

rain or snow

sprouts sprigs

of green mint,

buttery crocus.

Spring bulbs

defiantly break ground.


Sky’s skin

is papery thin –

gilded by golden sunrises

ever deepening blue.

A white moon

bathes winter nights

in shadowy translucence.

Venus, a star shrine

weaves her way

west to east.


The birds

soar through

the sky bowl,

migrating on

the wings of

each season.

Spiraling and dipping

soaring on thermals

eagles and cranes

circle higher and higher…

And in the

‘space in between’

spruces and fir

cottonwoods and juniper

scent Bosque and Forest –

provide shelter

and breathe for all.

Evergreen tips bristle.

Swelling cottonwood buds

anticipate spring’s turning.


The ‘Trees of Life’

forge interconnection

closing the gap

between root and sky.



My artist friend and I are collaborating on a project for publication. After Iren sent me the photos I chose one to write a poem about. This exercise is somewhat different from how I usually craft poems because normally they are inspired by some aspect of living nature, although the commonality is the power of the image.

When I first looked at Root and Sky I loved the composition, and reacted by writing a poem that projected LIFE onto the somber image, by interjecting trees. I was unconsciously responding to the disembodied – lifeless sense of an old discarded feather and roots – neither of which was attached to bird or tree.

It took three days to finish the poem – a long time for me.

Then yesterday I went for a brief walk. As sick as I felt the walk through the Bosque helped – and when I got home I suddenly saw Root and Sky as a death field – a place of disembodiment – a place where roots are no longer part of a living system – a place where only discarded feathers remained. I was shocked and immediately crafted a second poem in a matter of a few minutes.

Poems are like dreams – they always speak the truth – and these two poems reflect that reality. One was grounded in my imagination – a place where healing what is broken becomes possible, at least in theory as spring approaches… the other simply spoke to “what is.” Disembodiment is the disease of our time. We are unable to stay present in our bodies with awareness to what is happening to the earth and to humans.

It wasn’t until I finished that I saw that they both went together beautifully – one explicates the problem, the other imagines a solution in the form of trees that are rooted in the earth, providing shelter and resting places for birds and other creatures; At the same time the trees are reaching into the sky and become part of the firmament. The tree of life is a universal symbol of LIFE, both as a symbol and an actual sacred tree (all cultures have one). If anything speaks to embodiment – that is – living on this earth in a body that is capable of communicating with all other living beings with awareness and as a receiver, the tree is it.

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