Ancient Grounds

I am the serpent
undulating, smooth mounded earth.
I meander your secrets,
fossilized creatures and bones
soils of thousands before you.
My head and tail mark each solstice
beginning and end, light within me,
but I do not cease in either place.
My spirit continues as grasses
a wave of wind in ancient song.
See me and then seek others,
mounds of shapes for ancient eyes.
Yours too can see my living rest,
effigies and raised birds in earth.
Share my calm. Join my native prayer
and let me be.

ohio-serpent-mound-susan-tower

Serpent Mound in Ohio. According to Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road, “Like so many other mounds, it would have been destroyed to make room for construction if money hadn’t been raised to save it, in this case, with the help of a group of women at the Peabody Museum of Massachusetts.”  I’ve never seen Serpent Mound but have been to Effigy Mounds in Iowa. Written for dVerse, Pub for Poets’ challenge: write an ecopoetry by exploring and dwelling in our relationship with nature in such a way that implies responsibility and engagement. 

serpent mound two

36 thoughts on “Ancient Grounds

  1. Grace January 27, 2016 / 8:55 am

    I admire the personification of the serpents~ Love this part best:

    My head and tail mark each solstice
    beginning and end, light within me,
    but I do not cease in either place.

    Share my calm. Join my native prayer
    and let me be.

    Thanks for joining us Lillian ~

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) January 27, 2016 / 8:58 am

    The thought of such a construction to guard the soil rings with ancient wisdom… the serpent become the sentinel to watch those bones of past… really an invitation to conserve… love that though

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 9:05 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Bjorn. These are very special places to see…..hopefully they will stay protected.

      Like

  3. Sherry Blue sky January 27, 2016 / 10:06 am

    How cool that you chose the voice of the serpent. I did not know about serpent mounds and am happy that one was saved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 10:17 am

      Than you so much for the read — glad you liked it. Effigy Mounds in Iowa is not as big but equally as serene.

      Like

  4. Sanaa Rizvi January 27, 2016 / 10:18 am

    My spirit continues as grasses
    a wave of wind in ancient song.
    See me and then seek others,
    mounds of shapes for ancient eyes.

    I could feel each line and each word. Splendid work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 10:46 am

      Thank you! A wonderful compliment and I do so appreciate your response.

      Like

  5. Mary January 27, 2016 / 10:26 am

    I like “See me and then seek others.” Your whole poem really honors these mounds. I am so glad that this one and others have not been destroyed in the name of ‘progress.’ We definitely need to ‘share the calm’ and let them be! I really like this poem!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 10:48 am

      Thank you, Mary. Effigy Mounds evokes a serenity when you stand and gaze upon it. I remember feeling like I was one with those long passed.

      Like

  6. whimsygizmo January 27, 2016 / 11:03 am

    I am awestruck by “share my calm.” Personally, I truly believe God invites me to do that regularly, through nature. I don’t always listen, but when I do, I am rewarded with beauty, and peace.

    I also love:
    “I meander your secrets”
    Fantastic use of “meander” here.

    And that last line! “let me be” — not “leave me be.” LET me. Allow me. Quietly join me, in being still, yourself. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 11:30 am

      Thank you thank you. So very glad you enjoyed this one….I’m certain that Serpent Mound would evoke even more serenity and thoughtfulness for me than did my visit to Effigy Mounds. These are sacred places.
      Interesting you picked up on “let me be” — I had “leave” then changed it to “let” then back again and finally settled on “let” for exactly the reasons you’re pointing out here. 🙂
      I always appreciate your close reads…and am so pleased to read your responses.

      Like

  7. ShirleyB January 27, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    ‘Let me be’

    Your serpent analogy encompasses everything.
    Beautifully penned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 1:50 pm

      Thank you so very much! Truly appreciate your kind words.

      Like

  8. Bodhirose January 27, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    I have such an interest in these ancient, sacred places, Lillian. I’m so glad that at least some have been protected from “progress.” They seem like they would be a good place to meditate and would be conducive to calming the spirit. I have no doubt that they hold special, healing energies. Thanks for sharing your beautiful words that convey the importance of these amazing sites.
    Gayle ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 2:26 pm

      Have never seen the pyramids………but believe they are also a site that must be protected, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adriana Citlali Ramírez January 27, 2016 / 2:30 pm

        Yes, and they are protected in Mexico –at least the known ones. There are many still hiding under soil, jungles, and rain forests.

        Like

  9. navasolanature January 27, 2016 / 4:13 pm

    This is an amazing poem about such an amazing place. Thank you for sharing this,mvery inspiring and shows how much the human species once connected with nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 7:07 pm

      Thank you so much for your reply. These mounds are from another time and it is my hope they will be preserved.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Suzanne January 27, 2016 / 6:04 pm

    This is subtle but profoundly moving. The kind of poem that works in my mind slowly so that meanings come clearer over time. I enjoyed reading it a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 7:11 pm

      Thank you so much, Suzanne.
      I often like to read a poem a number of times — kind of like chewing cud .. I’m originally an Iowa gal😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne January 27, 2016 / 10:11 pm

        I’m an Aussie so the Iowa reference is a bit lost on me – I’m guess it’s dairy cow country. I live in cow country at the moment too.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Myrna January 27, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    So glad the site was protected. Sad that some see no value in it. Thanks for this poem. It made me aware of yet another struggle to conserve what matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      Thank you, Myrna. I learn so much reading others’ works. This blogging world is quite remarkable, right?

      Like

  12. katiemiafrederick January 28, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    Snakes.. slithery.. slimy..
    cold blooded.. often
    poisonous.. a
    lowly reminder
    that the
    meek
    inherit
    the earth
    even
    without
    legs..
    they shed
    a sKin anew..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 28, 2016 / 10:43 pm

      I hate snakes….but in this case, these sacred grounds, the snake is a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • katiemiafrederick January 28, 2016 / 10:45 pm

        Smiles.. Yes.. my friend.. Snakes.. Can be sacred grounded too.. in metaphor at least..;)

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Sumana Roy January 29, 2016 / 3:46 am

    wonderfully captivated…the words and the image bring tranquility that Nature has in profusion…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 29, 2016 / 7:19 am

      Thank you for the lovely comment! So very glad you felt the tranquility of this special place.

      Like

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