2020 Wilderness Poetry Contest First Place Winner: “On the forest trail” by Elise Brianne Curtin

On the forest trail

By Elise Brianne Curtin

a space

of solitude, where

essence of spruce, piñon, juniper seeps into cells.

a whisper

inaudible to ears,

translated by wind into mind’s eye,

a sigh

in rustling of needles thick with resin

and reaching of roots, spread deep in ancient Earth.

hawk soars overhead,

red and gold flickers of sunlight on upward spiraling flight

high above the hum of being human.

the forest floor

is a fine place to plant feet

on a sunny day

or when flailing in the fray,

a way up and out

to solid ground, where the only sounds are

a creek, babbling and bubbling,

winged things, chirping and buzzing,

the sturdy sway of towering trees,

earth softly bowing under weight of booted feet

and song of the candy rock ringing

in the shade of a scrubby oak,

half moon on the rise in the blue sky,

heart beating and breath, rising and falling,

in and out.

More about Elise Brianne Curtin:

Elise Brianne Curtin is a writer, editor, singer, and songwriter (of TorC-based duo Desert Milk, @desertmilkmusic) who draws inspiration through immersion in sacred, wild spaces, moments of meditative stillness, and dreamwork—practices that have been strengthened by settling in and exploring the high desert, mountainous terrain of New Mexico, rich with scenic vistas, wildlife, blue skies, and sunshine.