“L. M.

Browning’s religious fervor reminds one of Emily Dickinson’s in its intensity and unorthodoxy: it bypasses dogma to reach the heart of the divine.” --Rennie McQuilkin, author of The Weathering

Ruminations
at

Twilight

Poetry Exploring the Sacred

Author of Oak Wise: Poetry Exploring an Ecological Faith

L. M. Browning

ruminations
at

twilight

Poetry Exploring the Sacred

L. M. Browning

first edition

Little Red Tree Publishing, LLC, 635 Ocean Avenue, New London, CT 06320

Previous Publications oak Wise: Poetry exploring an ecological faith (2010)

Copyright © 2010 L. M. Browning
All rights are reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Except for brief passages quoted in a newspaper, magazine, radio or television review, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. First Edition, 2010, manufactured in USA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Cover and Book Design: L. M. Browning and Michael John Linnard, MCSD Cover Photograph used with kind permission: Deer in the Mist by Robert Jones © Copyright Robert Jones

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Browning, L. M. Ruminations at twilight : poetry exploring the sacred / L.M. Browning. -- 1st ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references, glossary and index. ISBN 978-1-935656-05-0 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Spirituality--Poetry. I. Title. PS3602.R738R86 2010 811'.6--dc22 2010033954

Little Red Tree Publishing, LLC 635 Ocean Avenue, New London, CT 06320 website: www.littleredtree.com

This book is dedicated to the family who guided me and imparted their wisdom from afar.

Contents
Foreword Preface Introduction by L.M. Browning 2 2 3 5 6 7 7 8 10 13 15 17 20 20 23 25 27 28 30 30 31 35 35 35 36 37 37 37 x xii xiv

Section I

Fidelity to Soul i. reclamation ii. disappointment iii. The dark Womb iV. Medicinal Confessions Absolution i. The Weight of our remorse ii. The nature of identity iii. to Become someone else iV. Listening for The Muted Voice V. The Clarity Had Upon the Brink Vi. Methods Heritage i. The Legacy ii. Conceded in fatigue iii. Justification iV. Knowledge never forgotten V. descended from strength Stranded in Need i. The Unbearable emptiness ii. Yearning for fullness Matured Innocence i. The Cost of Curiosity ii. The Question of redemption iii. The nature of innocence Renewed Intention i. sharp Clarity ii. new Purpose

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Section II

42 42 44 46 48 50 51 54 54 56 57 60 63 66 66 70 79 79 81 82 84 84 85 87 89 89 90 93 93 93 95 97 101 101 102

The Sacred i. The destructive Coup of Mankind ii. The Modern ignorance of the Ancient Wisdom iii. The Human face encased Within the stone idol iV. the enduring truth Underneath the Aged Lie V. The Acts That reveal the Unseen Vi. to find Who Was Lost Coming Home i. Change of Heart ii. The orphan iii. responsibility iV. The other V. in the end Inherent Knowledge i. Modern Myth and Ancient truth ii. The sacred ordinary After the Night, Before the Day i. The Gathering of the first Light ii. stretching the distance Between two Worlds iii. The Cradle of dreams The Language of the Mute i. A record of the ineffable ii. finding our Voice iii. The soul’s native tongue Original Form i. transmuted ii. The extensions of our Being The Two Sides i. The Hallowed Act ii. Belief Without despair iii. The Mourned Certainty of Youth iV. tangible Love My Return to the New England Wood i. trails That Lead Within ii. Walking the Perimeter of the old foundation

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iii. resuscitating the one Who Had faith iV. Unknowing but Wise Reentering the Womb i. The Caim ii. evolution Hiraeth~Sacred Yearning i. rite ii. revival iii. resonance iV. restitution V. reprieve Glossary Index of Titles and First Lines Author Biography

105 106 108 108 110 112 112 113 114 116 117 118 122 124

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Acknowledgments
firstly i must recognize a woman whose abilities and efforts cannot be praised enough—my mother Marianne, i have learned what it is to believe by watching you travel your path. We have made this journey together; all the truths that have been found, we reached together. The wisdom within this book and others i have written is not solely mine but rather it is ours. secondly i feel compelled to voice my thanks to my dear friend Andy, i deeply appreciate your support and caring over this past year. You are one of the rare generous hearts. And finally i must express my admiration to my fellow pathwalkers: frank, Jamie, Jason, Jenn and James, meeting you all has renewed my hope in what a small group of people can accomplish. You are all my kin and i feel blessed to be included within your creative circle.

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Foreword
it is an honor for Little red tree to publish this remarkable book of poetry by L. M. Browning, called Ruminations at Twilight: Poetry Exploring the Sacred. it is a book of poetry written with a profound spiritual and philosophical intent that speaks to everyone with explanations and answers for the life we all live. eschewing the apathy of her youth towards religion as well as the narcissism of modern life and its distractions, which left her bereft of meaning, Ms. Browning consciously chose to immerse herself in focused and purposeful study. A study that involved the deconstruction and careful examination of all past and current religions, faiths and beliefs of the world, in an attempt to find that which might fill the void she felt in her soul. in comparison we might all, when faced with a similar enterprise, consider ourselves unworthy. emanating from this period of intense self-discovery and education, she experienced a profound spiritual awakening and acquired an authentic philosophical integrity, which is self-evident from the moment you begin to read her very personal, inspiring and uniquely sagacious poetry. Therefore, it is understandably, not with any notion or sense of panglossian expectation or timidity, that her poetry addresses and posits an answer to the central question of human existence: namely, the human condition and what constitutes an appropriate response to the modern world. in fact a world in which humanity has strayed, with disastrous consequences, far from the path of intimate and harmonious knowledge of its natural surroundings, common place in the pre-industrial age. Her poetry, considering the scope of the subject matter, is not gratuitously littered with aphorisms but is indeed refreshingly accessible and clear, written in a lyrical style that frequently rises to the level of a prayer. it is not a book that recites an endless litany of lamentable crimes committed against the earth, though there are so many, but simply states the case and presents a plausible pathway for everyone. it transcends the contumelious rants of

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the petulant child and replaces it with poetry that inspires and produces a vision of hope and direction for the readers personal awareness. i highly recommend this book to those who are troubled and concerned about the world in which we live. to those who fear for the future this poetry provides many answers and a genuine pathway through to the sacred in ourselves and the world we share. Michael Linnard Little red tree Publishing 2010.

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Preface
Ruminations at Twilight is the second book in a series of three contemplative poetry titles being released over the course of 2010-2011. The first in this series was entitled, Oak Wise: Poetry Exploring an Ecological Faith [April 2010]. While Oak Wise is a convergence of my personal beliefs, the beliefs of the ancient Celts and the ways of shamanism, Ruminations at Twilight is solely comprised of the personal beliefs i have established over the course of the last decade. Ruminations at Twilight is an intimate version of the archetypal prodigal child story, transcended from its limited catholic parameters to become a story of humanity itself. Written in the intimate form of “love poems to god,” the reader bears witness to the private discourse of a lost heart in need of forgiveness, from not only their own ancestors but from all that is sacred in this world. in the first section we read the story of the child’s awakening to their betrayal of self and the betrayal of the cherished principles handed down to them by their beloved parents. These poems are an unfiltered record of one’s fearless turning within, to confront the wrongs they have committed against their better selves and the sacredness of this world. in these pages there is a difficult coming to terms with the poor choices one can make; the poems grapple with the shame, guilt and remorse that one bears after committing such acts, and ultimately meditates on the internal resolution that rises, spurring one to set out on a search for forgiveness. in the second section, the story of the prodigal child goes forward still as, after awakening to their own betrayal of self, the child awakens to the greater betrayal of humanity—in terms of our betraying what it is to be human. After returning home to ask for forgiveness from their father and mother the child sets out to reconcile and reconnect with the divine father and the Mother earth, both of whom were left scarred and betrayed by humanity’s detrimental modern ambitions. The poems within this section explore timely themes including: disillusionment with the virtue of the modern age; remorse for the transgressions committed against the earth; the
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choice to disconnect with the interface of formal religion in search of firsthand knowledge of the divine and finally, the desire to find a place of belonging that might give us what we need to fill the emptiness inherent to these present days. Asserting that the sacred lives in what is ordinary and the Divine is found amongst the green of nature, the poems within Ruminations at Twilight bring a message of appreciation for the worth of what surrounds us. relevant, insightful, candid and revealing, these verses give a unique perspective on the age-old questions. The story told takes place on an intimate scale yet at the same time a world-wide scale; for within this story of one individual’s realization and redemption we are told that of all humanity’s.

Forthcoming in the Series
The final book in this contemplative series is entitled, The Barren Plain. The poems within chronicle “the darkest night,” following a broken idealist who, after coming forth from their adolescence with the hopes of bringing/seeing change in the ailing world, is abruptly shattered upon discovering the extent to which greed, lies, indifference and apathy has infected the world. disillusioned, fatigued and disoriented in a world of illusions, false religions and two-faced people, the young idealist is dragged down into pessimism and despair. realizing the injustice of the world, the disturbing extent of the corruption of mankind and the seemingly insurmountable odds one is faced within when trying to realize their dreams, the idealist stares out across the barren plain—the possibility of a life of emptiness, meaninglessness and senseless suffering—and must see if they cannot transcend their seemingly forlorn fate. relevant, dark yet ever-asserting an underlining message of the importance of persevering to maintain hope, The Barren Plain is a story of maintaining the belief in betterment—that our future can be better than our present and that change can indeed be brought to this downward-spiraling world. The anticipated release date of The Barren Plain is January 2011.

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Introduction
A Story of Humanity
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' “But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” This is an excerpt from the story of the Prodigal son taken from the Catholic new testament, specifically the Gospel of Luke 15. now, some of you who read this may not be Catholic, personally i was raised a Catholic, though my journey of understanding has

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long since moved beyond this doctrine; however, regardless of my departure from this faith i have chosen to include this text because it is my intention in the coming pages to demonstrate that the story of the Prodigal Child is a parable that does not belong solely to one faith, but rather to humanity itself. The text has undoubtedly been interpreted countless different ways throughout history, depending upon the mind-set and intentions of the one reading it. i have chosen to site the text for its story alone, rather than any significance the story might have held at the time it was first included in the Catholic scripture, but that is not to say i do not appreciate the worth of the story or its history. stories have always been and will continue to be a vital part of our Human existence; for it is through the narrative that we come to better understand what our life has been. …it is through the narrative that we are able to connect to that part of ourselves that has no words yet needs to be understood. The arc of the Prodigal Child story seems inherently Catholic yet the story of the betrayal and redemption of our purer self is one of the transcended stories that is able to speak to all peoples, throughout all the ages. This story was playing out within individuals and between families long before it was captured on paper, and it is still playing out to this day. As it is now, this story takes place on two scales. firstly, there is the story of the individual betraying their better selves and abandoning the beliefs and morality that they are given by their family or other presences of wisdom in their life. And secondly there is the story of Humanity as a whole and our betrayal of our Mother the earth and the Paternal divine presence through the harmful acts we have been carrying out collectively as a species over the course of these last ages.

The First Perspective
Within the first section of Ruminations at Twilight is told the story of the individual. The text is semi-autobiographical in that, when writing it i was reflecting back on a particular time in my life when i betrayed my true self—my better self—as well as
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the morality i inherited from my parents. i had thrown aside the wholesome, pure way of living my mother and father held and had taught me to follow, casting it aside for my own time of “wild living,” or perhaps frivolous living more accurately describes it; for in looking back at that time in my life one word resounding comes to mind and that is: waste. The inheritance that i squandered was not solely monetary wealth, though that was spent in quantity, rather the precious gift passed down to me by my parents that i so blindly threw away, was that of my beliefs, my morality and my innocence, which my parents had selflessly protected throughout my youth. i bartered away the wisdom that my parents had painstaking accumulated over the course of their lifetime and had so lovingly passed down to me throughout my adolescence, so that i could be free to pursue that which laid beyond the boundary of honorable, wholesome pursuits. in the end, wanting nothing more than entertainment, unconsciousness, self-indulgence, instant gratification and to some degree self-destruction. eventually i woke to my betrayal of self and set out to atone and restore that which i had damaged within my own soul and with regard to my familial bonds. Along the way, dealing with the difficult emotions that come when we awaken to our wrongdoing such as guilt, shame and regret—a journey of coming to terms, which i chronicle within the coming pages.

The Second Perspective
The second section of Ruminations at Twilight tells the Prodigal Child tale from a wider perspective, relating the old parable to the present situation of humanity itself. Within this section we follow the realizations and actions of the same individual we followed in the first section whom, after realizing that they have betrayed themselves, comes to see that humanity as a whole has betrayed what it is to be human as well as the Mother earth and the Paternal divine presence that exists. (Whether you believe this Paternal presence to be that of a God(s) or simply a Great Force, I leave to your unique belief.)
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Just as the farm boy left his father’s lands for the wild living of the city so too humanity has left behind the agrarian culture of hearth and home for more modern ambitions—choosing to immigrate away from the natural earth and move into the synthetic world we have created upon her, and in doing this we led ourselves into an empty, self-destructive, shameful way of living. And it has been over the course of our modern endeavors that we have squandered our inheritance—the earth herself—selling her off bit by bit, ounce by ounce, acre by acre and barrel by barrel to pay for our fanciful, frivolous empty ways. We betrayed the natural when we disregarded the natural balance of life and the natural course of life—no longer respecting the value of any life, other than our own. We betrayed the sacred as, gripped in our madness of greed, we defiled our Mother. And finally we betrayed the divine in disregarding the old wisdom and arrogantly coming to view ourselves as the dominate force on this earth. Just as i betrayed the morality and beliefs passed down to me by my parents that kept me true to myself and made me the best possible version of myself i could be, so too has humanity betrayed the ways of our ancestors that help us to embody what it is to be human, in the best possible sense of the word. The old wisdom of modesty, grace, innocence and honor found among the earlier peoples on the family tree of Humanity, were passed down to us, yet we chose to abandon the ancestral wisdom and dignity of past generations in our headstrong desire for wealth and new forms of amusement/self-gratification. We abandoned these old ways and in doing so betrayed what it is to be human, making the human being out to be a perverse, ignorant, deceptive, shallow creature, when we are meant to be anything but. overall, we have brought ourselves to a very dangerous place. We have reached that point as a people wherein we are so lost that we do not even know that we are lost. We have forgotten so much that we do not even recall that we have forgotten anything at all. We left behind the ancient wisdom, we dismissed our ancestors whom found the workings of the divine World within objects and occurrences that we now term to be “ordinary” or explainable by

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science. Yet in arbitrarily leaving behind their insights we have left behind a great deal of life-filling knowledge. We search for the sacred presence in our lives, not even sure what it looks like. We feel abandoned by the divine, when in fact it is we who abandoned it. i have learned over the course of my life that, before we can see the divine we must believe that it exists. The deeper meaning in this World does not simply leap out and reveal itself, we must look for it and many a time that sacred presence we seek is found within that which we stare at everyday; for the sacred is found amongst the ordinary. We have forgotten what is important, just as we have forgotten ourselves and what it is to be human but the matter is not over and done, we always have the choice to set about restoring ourselves and reconnecting to all that has been forgotten, if we so desire.

Conclusion
This current generation of humanity is poised to be the generation who can potentially redeem humanity itself and transcend being human back to a virtue rather than a flaw. More than any generation to come before, we are beginning to wake to the destructive nature of our industrial way of living. inwardly we all are beginning to feel the inherent emptiness to the way of life we have chosen. it is simply a question as to whether or not humanity as a whole will be spurred by these realizations or will choose instead to turn a blind eye and continue down a path that will lead us into a poverty of soul and World. —L.M. Browning Connecticut, summer 2010

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section i

ruminations at twilight

Fidelity to Soul
I. Reclamation
When it comes to tolerating this condition i am immune deficient. The aura about me, which bore the brunt of the blows, flickers as my convictions wane. Those causes we take unto ourselves give us the strength to live and in this, our reasons are our sources of life. so, dearest, give me a reason. …i want caring for you to be my cause; for i know that, empowered by your love, even this broken body can find the means to live immortal. over the years of neglect i have fallen into disrepair. is there one whom is willing to take me as a cause? …willing to help restore my original self?  We lonely creatures discover that we are not alone as we find ourselves instinctually speaking unto those not perceivable to the eyes.

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We reluctant believers —we analytical hold outs— find our faith as our voices join the collective prayer, that has reverberated down the ages since the frail human being drew its first breath— a chant, a hymn carried as one steady note across the divides of the generations. We find our spirituality as we scream out to the gods from within the depths of this despairing human condition, “Give us meaning!”

II. Disappointment
in my youth i listened to your ideals and at your knee forged my own theories that held the immoral to be weak. All the while ignorant of the difficulties that can wear upon the once righteous, driving them to become the villain. departing the safety of our home to pass through the hostile plain that surrounds, all my theories failed in practice. so as to not be alone, i hid what separated me from those i mingled with: in that land of idolaters, i became ashamed of my ideals. in that land of whorishness, i became ashamed of my wholesomeness.

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 for years i forgot myself and during that time of self-induced amnesia committed acts that bring shame upon me and those who call me family. i have made such a mess in my disbelief. Will you leave me here to dwell in my filth or will you raise me back up to be at your side? i return to you father, not having squandered a fortune you gave unto me but rather, having sullied the purity i inherited from you. We bonded once when i shared the ideals of purity to which i aspired. shall the bond now be reaffirmed as i return to you and confess the lowest depths to which i sank?  There were answers i once knew that i no longer know. And still there are other matters of which i knew nothing about that i can now, regretfully, speak with authority on. i have no answer to the question: is there a God?

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Yet i know, beyond any doubt, that there is evil.

III. The Dark Womb
evil stems from mankind. nothing deceives us into becoming evil the innocent part of us can always sense the nature of what we are entering into. We are not as unaware as we would make ourselves out to be. desire twists mankind —the boy grows to become the oppressor and the girl grows to be the whore— through desire. Lust is a madness. The insatiable need for money… for the carnal, for control, for reverence. This madness infects the healthy soul and transmutes it into a savage evil.  for each of us there is a particular presence of evil that becomes the curse of our existence one that has scarred us, preyed upon us

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dirtied us traumatized us and to us, this person is the devil. They are the source of evil in our lives, and the full embodiment of the word. My devil is not your’s and yet we all fight the same persona; for all evil is the same.

IV. Medicinal Confessions
i left home knowing of love yet now i return knowing of evil. i blame not my wrongdoings on evil’s temptations. i blame their attacks for wearing me down, but in the end it was i who let myself become like them. Before i can go on into my new life father, we must speak of what has been. i have just woken from a fever that has raged for years, with searing recollections of what i did in my compromised state. And i find i must admit what i became if i am to regain what i once was.

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section ii

ruminations at twilight

The Sacred
I. The Destructive Coup of Mankind
You placed yourself in all that you created. You lived within the majesty of the world we uprooted. …in the mountains we hollowed out. …in the rushing rivers we dammed. …in the old wood forests we burned. …in the graceful beasts we hunted to extinction. …in the soul you gave us, which we were so eager to reshape and have so carelessly guarded the purity of. We destroyed you and now we damn you for forsaking us. We hid you and now we demand to know why you have made yourself illusive. We renounced you and now accuse you of turning your back on us. We left behind the simple ways you taught us and now ask to know why we must live in a world without meaning. Always demanding more of you we say, “speak!” You shout to us with all your might, from across the divide of our disbelief, coming to us as a faint whisper and we say, “not enough. —Appear.” You come unto us in your shapeless form —a being woven from the fibers of spirit invisible to the doubting eye, luminous to the believing— and, only seeing a vague shadow of you,

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we dismiss you as a figment of our own longing. You ever-dwell within and around; while we are ever-asking when you shall appear. You have made it so the river of your consciousness flows through our very heart. Yet we feel that we have been neglected and left to wander without tether or guide. We have sought you out for millenniums on end, you—oh power beyond us. Yet this next generation, who shall harness the genome, will leave behind their need for you; for one does not feel the need to seek out the greater power if one perceives themselves to be greater still. one will not seek out the deeper workings if one presumes to already understand them. one does not feel the need to beg for a miracle from a god if one believes they can simply pay another man to be their savior. The god of the ancestors will be left behind as man finally assumes the role himself. And i am left wondering if, after the mobs who carved the idols of you disperse —if after they put down the gilded images of you— will those of us who stay, finally come to see your true face? if, once the mobs stop force-feeding all peoples the confining doctrine, might we not at last be able to hear your actual words? i wonder if, after the doors are closed on the theatrical mass,

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will those of us who still long to find you once again feel that pull to return to the ancient wood or stand upon the shore’s edge, where man’s spirituality began and find you there, in those places where the veil between worlds is thin? As the frenzy and fanaticism dies, religion is left behind and the new age of man’s own perceived omnipotence begins, will those of us who choose not to follow finally go back to our roots? While the others begin the pending descent will we who remain go into the past to secure a future? i know i will. for i know that what we need to be complete, is not something that we can invent but rather is something we must resurrect. …it is not something that must be discovered, but rather rediscovered.

II. The Modern Ignorance of the Ancient Wisdom
We shall not be able to heal the ailing soul with synthetics. Therefore, no matter the medicines made to treat the symptoms of the body, humanity shall continue to decline. Yet we need not fear. What we need to heal ourselves still endures.
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it flourished once before, in the eras past— before the great books were written and the robes of priesthood were woven— when it was man and woman and the other whom dwelt beyond but near. The savage in fur and buckskin, who had naught but his fire and his tools made of bone, was wise enough to see the sacredness of the world around him. He recognized the magic that lie in the movement of stars and planets, in the ebb and flow of the tide, in the waxing and waning of the moon, in the miracle of the emerging seed and the nourishing bounty to follow. Yet the first thing we did to try to establish our modern intelligence was to explain your magic as science. We declared your wonders to be ordinary. We took away your power and gave it to the molecules of matter and energy. We drained the fathomless ocean of the unknown and founded the shallow world. We dismissed the cave-dweller who awed at the stars as simple-minded. We declared the great mystery solved. We emptied ourselves of belief, and now we despair at the hollowness of life. However, i can go no further. i can follow no more the misguided.

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i must part from the others and go back to the place where we left you. i am coming home to light the cold hearth. i am coming home to till the overgrown fields. i am coming home to you; where i shall ask you, oh ancient one —mother and father to all creatures— to take me back in.

III. The Human Face Encased Within the Stone Idol
We made you a god. We gave you the throne and crown in our attempt to understand what it is to be all-powerful. We likened you to a lord of men —a ruler with free reign— for that was our idea of the omnipotent Being. However, you were never that, were you. We imagined you in domed halls of marble, the silver bearded judge and monarch— commander of angels, mover of worlds, weaver of souls. But that was never where you were. …that was never what you were. our feeble minds, which held such wrong ideas of power, could never comprehend what you truly are. Yes, oh primordial power, you exist but we have not the eyes to see you.

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ruminations at twilight

You—the force from which we sprung— are a Being that we cannot fathom. it is not your absence that keeps us from seeing you, it is our own blindness. for you are there, we simply have not the awareness to recognize you. Throughout our existence we have sought you, all the while thinking you to be one person, when in fact you are another. And in our vain attempts to define you we have only maimed you. in our efforts to bring ourselves closer to you, we have only brought ourselves further away. now we are faced, not only with opening our minds but also with clearing them; for we cannot come to understand what you truly are, until we find a way to let go of the past forms we gave to you. i shall mourn the myth that dies; nevertheless i shall let that myth go, for i do not wish to cling to what is false. i wish to embrace what is genuine. i turn away from the mural, that i might one day gaze upon your true form. i stop reciting the mantras of contradictory doctrine, that i might feel your voice flow through me and we may be able to have a conversation. 

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ruminations at twilight

You are not a body to be embraced, you are a deep force to be delved into. Meeting you is not done with a shaking of hands but an entwining of spirits. Hearing you is not done through opening our ears but opening our heart. in attuning ourselves to hear the unspoken; in adjusting our sight to see the unseen and in sharpening our senses to detect the imperceptible, we begin to recognize that you are always here with us. remaking the pathways of our mind, which demand explanation before it shall consider the possibility of…. We shall free ourselves to understand your existence and the reality you work off of, which is based upon the one truth: that love—you— is capable of all things.

IV. The Enduring Truth Underneath the Aged Lie
You—deep river of purifying, nourishing waters. You—wind that carries whispers of other worlds. You—great solace from the emptiness we have made. i am in need of you. You—whose body is woven with threads of coursing spirit, i have seen you emerge from the backdrop when the dawning light hits you, highlighting the features of your invisible face.

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ruminations at twilight

Walking through the mists, i feel the drapes and folds of the robes you wear, as you envelope me. in the warm caress of the clear light shining upon my face i feel the heat from your body. You—greatest yet humblest force— you dwell contently in the background. While we have proclaimed our might you, in your modesty, have continued to hold all life in balance. You—encircling, penetrating presence— you are the most intense being, yet never overbearing; the most powerful, yet never dominating; the wisest, yet without a trace of arrogance about you. show me your ways, for i wish to be as you are. You—whose presence is so powerful— you hold gravity over my entire being, just as the sun and moon do over the ocean. When i feel you pull away my soul recedes and when i feel you come near the tide floods in and depth returns. Yet you never pull away, do you. it is always i who leaves… i who allows myself to be taken away by that other current —swept from you— pulled back into the shallows, to be beached upon the barren world we, mankind, have created.

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ruminations at twilight

V. The Acts That Reveal the Unseen
What we create, reflects what lies within us. You—venerable, learned teacher—you knew this. so you went forward slowly, growing until you were ready and then you brought forth the earth from your soul— a creation which shows the beauty of your inner-self. While we, in our haste and greed, built a world upon your earth that reflects our ugliness and arrogance. show us our beauty, great mirror. Let us look through your ancient lens and see the earth as you do, that we might pause in solemn respect and not thoughtlessly destroy the perfection you so painstakingly brought forth. While others seek dominion over the earth, know this: i do not wish to create my own world; i wish only to be free to explore every depth of yours. i would be forever content to dwell in the vastness of your soul. Wandering through the many rooms within your grand house. to put away the endeavors of concrete and steel, and lay my head in the groves of thick grass, at the bases of the elder trees, beneath the vaulted loft of the flowering branches. Gazing upon each bloom, beholding each vista, watching each living creature,
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ruminations at twilight

all the while knowing that as i do i am looking upon the different sides of you. You, whose soul is the prism that, when the light of the sun passes through, creates the rainbow. i wish to pass myself through you, that i may see the multicolored hues that compose the fiber of my being. i wish to leave behind this black and white world of sharp angles that we created in our narrowness and step into the vibrant world of flowing contours, which you created in your boundlessness.

VI. To Find Who Was Lost
Are you there oh silent one, listening to my pleas? Are you here with me as i mutter in the darkness? How i wish for you to take form beside me. While, all along, you sit beside me wishing for me to be able to see that you already have. Will this ever end? Will this wall that lies between us ever come down? i do not know what creates it. i do not think it is my disbelief; for i am here reaching for you— whom i know is there.

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ruminations at twilight

tell me knowledgeable one: What makes the unseen, unseeable? is it something in its nature or something in ours? Why would the creation not be able to see the creator? Why would the offspring of the force, not be able to see its source? We have tried to relate to you by giving you our own image. We gave you the image of the silver bearded man, that we might have a face for the presence we have sensed just beyond and so ardently sought to know. But, perhaps you are not to be found in body. You gave us the vessel in which to hold our being woven of spirit. But perhaps, you desired no such house for your own being. Choosing instead to keep yourself in free flowing spirit, ever-migrating through the channels of the unseen, that you might be with all of us at once. if we are to find you we must look for what a being is when out of its body. if we are to depict you, we must draw what we are when removed from this vessel. to find the part of you that is within us, we must first look upon our true form. to find the family resemblance we must look in the mirror that reflects the internal— look beyond the features of the body, to the face of the being within.

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ruminations at twilight

it is there—beyond the surface— that we shall see the form you take. it is there that we shall see what it is you truly are. And it is then that we shall know who and what we have always been. it is then that we shall realize, that to find something or someone there is a superficial layer that must first be peeled back. it is then that we shall appreciate the life that dwells beneath and within. And when at last we do this, the world you created shall open to us —the wall will fall away— and we each shall wake to find you sitting beside us; dwelling in that part of the world we left long ago to pursue other ambitions, where you have remained in constant vigil waiting for us —your lost family—to return.

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Advance Praise
“Ruminations at Twilight is a powerful cry of yearning for the sacred. These lines of poetry are Browning’s fearless entry into the global conversation; a heartfelt plea on behalf of the sacred Earth whose words run like rivers into the Great Watershed of the Earth’s dreaming. May her poetry inspire your own plunge into the currents.” —Jason Kirkey, author of The Salmon in the Spring (Winner of the 2010 IPPY Book Award, Mind-Body-Spirit Category Silver Medal) “Ruminations at Twilight is not your average book of poetry, and L. M. Browning is not your average poet. Reading this book is like tugging on the loose string-end of the great ball of twine that is our human condition. One must be brave to take up such a journey. One must be willing to “see.” Browning sees, knows, and offers a much-needed vision to the rest of us. These poems guide us through the terrain of the ‘common wound’ and carry us into a place of healing, anticipation and realization of the prospect of being our fullest selves in a torn world that needs us to be exactly that.” —Frank Owen, author/creator of the online poetry experience NEKYIA.POETRY “A few months back I had L. M. Browning’s Oak Wise to review, and I appreciated that collection. This volume quite simply blew me away. It follows the same themes of relationship with nature, and speaking to spirit, and there are moments that feel like prayer. The writing is beautiful, but in Ruminations, Browning has gained a sense of purpose and direction absent in the earlier work. There’s recognition of where the wrongs lie, and how to challenge them. I found the poetry affecting and inspiring, underpinned with a strong philosophy. This is not just a poetry book, it is a call to action, to self awareness and engagement with spirit.” —Bryn Colvin [Druid Network]

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L. M. Browning

Cover Photograph: “Deer in the Mist,” by Robert Jones Cover and Book design: L. M. Browning & Michael Linnard