Back permanently bent from years at task,
large calloused hands firm to grasp,
gently assess tendrils amongst the greens.
Red kerchief upon her head, basket nearby
knapsack slung on hunched shoulders
eyes to ground, the healer gathers.
Moon watcher, earth cycles familiar
as her own once were. Old woman
wise in the land, one of generations.
Young girl, the next, hovers quietly
beside rivers, through brambles,
seeks to learn mountain’s gifts.
Veined hands reach, crack dogwood bark
fingers roll to crumble butterfly weed.
Touch, not eye, decides to take or not.
Blue cohash, huckleberry, lady slippers.
Sun fades. Moccasin flower roots,
tomorrow’s liquid for aching throat.
She walks the mountainside pharmacopeia
long Joe-pye-weed from the shores,
reishi mushrooms tucked below trees.
Purple fox glove for Pauni’s heart,
bee balm and peppermint leaves,
hawthorne twigs for ceremonial wreaths.
Harvest complete, they slowly return,
woman healer and one to be.
Stars orbit, complete the cycle
whilst moon waxes and wanes.
Late for Tuesday Poetics when guest prompter Lynn asked us to write something related to mountains; so posting now at dVerse Open Links Night. Photo Credit: Michael and Christa Richert.