Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Calling Back Resilience


They told me that the wolf would not show itself unless it is trying to tell you something.
                                                                                                              - Gudrun Pflueger

The smell of  Pinesol and hand lotion

halo the bed as she softly hums.

Her arm slants toward  the edge,

a narrow trail leading to the shoulder

that once carried the sun and  shadow

 of island pines as she walked inward

toward the wolf.


A path interlaced with vine and weed

held the tracks of the lone traveler

who dispersed white-tailed and slender legged

into the fog. A lupine ghost who seemed.

as illusive as her reason for pursuing it.


She found the creature curled against tree roots

clawing the ground with thick tenacity. No fear

was expressed from either species, only the blue stare

stemming from kindred eyes that knew each form

housed a similar spirit. The same breath

spidering into cold air and marking the forest

with its wild strain.

                      *  *  *  *   *  *  *  *

The slow drip of  a new drug enters her vein ;

 she remembers snow dripping on snow

that had been  traversed by light footsteps. The wolf

walked on the white crust with  divine grace

as if the soul were levitating the body. As if the field

were solaced by its stealth agility. Bed linens

envelop her in layered cotton. Hours quilted

in quiet confinement -- but she rises leaving

her limbs at rest and drifts toward the window. Its metal

arch like the steel binding on the canoe

that ferried her to the island. A  coastal

reliquary that had been keeping

her unknown rations Her  ancestral instincts.

This poem was inspired by Austrian skier, Gudrun  Pflueger who made a journey to a coastal island off the Canadian mainland to study the wolves. She went ashore with her camera and some wisdom  gained form The First Nation, a  North American Indian tribe. They told her the wolf was a very secret yet wise species. And like a prophet, only chose to be seen by  other beings  (outside the clan)  to reveal something essential  about themselves and their human pilgrimage.

She stooped quietly in a meadow and waited for them to emerge from the woods. Slowly one wolf came toward her unafraid and simply curious. Other members of the pack followed. Neither species, human or animal was afraid. At that point, Gudrun, formed a special bond with the lupine mammals. She drew from them strength, a sense of resolve and determination among other extraordinary traits.
Never forgetting that experience, she took gifts of revelation and newly discovered self-knowledge off the island. A few years later, when she developed brain cancer and had to survive intense surgery and chemotherapy, she drew again on that encounter with the wolf to sustain her. She journeyed back mentally and even in spirit to that sacred place. This poem is derived from and inspired by her story and her remarkable character.
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