Taking refuge in the forest
Amidst the tall redwoods
Majestic protectors
Of all things living.

Their cracked brown skin
Brings to mind my brown ancestors
Still alive among these trees
Centuries after centuries.

Their resilience exemplary
Their strength legendary
They’ve overcome severe hardships
With awe-inspiring dignity.

Settling deeper into the peace
I hear them call my name
Like a hum welcoming me home
To my roots, to my wholeness.

I place my arms around a trunk
And feel strength enter my body
Energy permeate my soul
I’m suffused with wonder.

Under the soft cracked skin
I sense deep scars and pain
A yearning to be embraced
For tenderness, for humankindness.

My heart quivers
I hold tighter.

Know someone who can use some inspiration? Share this post with them, 
or share it on social media. Many thanks!

Photo credits: Clare Mulvany

27 thoughts on “The Refuge (Poem)

  1. I love the parallel of redwoods and ancestors, their strength and symbol of endurance, and your own embracing of suffering that you have expressed in many different ways. I personally consider you my teacher in the ways you find this towering strength.

    1. Thank you Randy for your comment. I’m glad the metaphor resonated with you, and you appreciated the deeper layers of the poem. Thanks for sharing and unpacking the poem so eloquently.

  2. Thank you everyone for your comments. I am so glad my poem touched your hearts and resonated with so many of you! Thank you for reading my blog and sharing my journey towards healing. May it brings you peace and comfort.

  3. Your poem is rich is feeling and so deep.Most importantly, the way you describe the experience is so tactile. I can “FEEL” so much of it. Almost touch it. And feel a presence in the forest. Magical!

    1. Thank you Louise for your comment. I am inspired to read that you got a tactile feeling from the poem. I am not a poet. Just dabbing into petry. This is my second poem only. I am just using words to express my inner feelings.

  4. Your writing is so lovely Sylvie. What a gift to translate images into words so beautifully. I’ve got family members who’ve called me a tree hugger, not as a compliment but as a judgement. Ha! I’m grateful that your elders are bestowing their healing energy and light upon you.

    1. Thank you Jody for your comment, which is particularly meaningful to me because I think in images, and it is inspiring to hear that I can use words to recreate the images in my head and share them with others.

  5. Thanks Sylvie…I feel you reaching out to be met by the ancestors who love you. They are there in the energy of the trees for sure.
    The poem feels like an invocation, an invitation and a paying homage to that truth.
    Beautiful!

    1. Thank you Terence for adding this perspective. Yes, the cracked brown skin of the redwoods triggered an intergenerational memory of my black ancestors. Their strength and dignity felt alive in the redwoods.

  6. Their cracked brown skin
    Brings to mind my brown ancestors
    Still alive among these trees
    Centuries after centuries.

    Their resilience exemplary
    Their strength legendary
    They’ve overcome severe hardships
    With awe-inspiring dignity.

    Really am inspired by these lines of your poem, your deep appreciation for our ancestors and for carrying human suffering and struggles with dignity – all part of an exemplary, sometimes breathtaking resilience – thank you for this reminder, Sylvie.

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