The God of Life (poem 3 of the Mars trilogy)

The seeds weigh heavy in my hand
I stumble with them across the ocean of blood
the soles of my feet scraped and raw against the rocks beneath

I am
I am


I sit
Pause for a moment beneath a palm tree
But I cannot enjoy the shade
I close my eyes in relief
but not in peace
The restlessness begins in my legs again
right at the fat part of my calves
and down along my bones
I have to get up
I have to walk
I cannot stay still
There is something yet
Something to see
and these seeds to plant
if ever I find their soil

The scarlet gives way to sand
white sand
dunes of it blown in the wind
like powder
“Where are you going?”
they ask
“I don’t know”
I say
“But do you know where I can put these?”
I hold up the seeds
The dunes shake their heads
or the wind shakes it for them, I’m not sure
and they evaporate into dust and I am alone again

The sun blazes on me as I reach the edge of the desert
a jungle, here
Pacific Rainforest without the cedar
cool shade and trees so green
everything else looks brown by comparison
I walk into the birch wood as it enfolds around me
“You are safe here,”
it whispers, soft arms around me
“You are safe”

And I want to be
but I’m not
I can relax
but I am not free

My hair’s grown back and it streams behind me
all the creatures of the forest tangled in it
Where are they going, I wonder
Where do they think that I’m going,
that they would hitch a ride?
I would ask them, but they’re all twittering and chattering away
and none of them speak
They’re too heavy a burden to carry
so I cut my hair back to its own length
and leave the masses behind for the animals to make nests
They’ll be nice and warm in the winter, that’s for sure
I smile, happy that I could give them something
worth having
“You could plant the seeds here,”
a voice says to me
and I want to
This seems a place conducive to growth
But it’s not home
There are no people here
“God,” I say
and find I very much want to see him
It’s been too long since we last visited
So I sink down beneath an old oak tree
close my eyes
and listen
the ache for movement in my legs directed
towards an inward journey

I fall through the ground into blackness
there is nothing but grey and blue shadows
I have to open my eyes to figure out what’s happening
and I spin, arms outstretched, with no idea of up or down
Perhaps I’m not spinning; I couldn’t tell anyway
There is no ground here
and I can’t seem to get quiet in here
my heart is troubled by all I see, all I’ve done
my mind is full of noise
Try drumming,
I think
No-one will hear it if you’re quiet
and I curl up, ear to my hands as I drum on my legs and feet
Play the frustrations out
I just want somewhere to belong
I want roots
I want everything to be all right again
I had something before
something I’m missing
and nothing here has got it in me
nothing here has it
I don’t even know what it is

The syncopated rhythm breaks free
pounding out a toneless melody
like none ever heard before
and the thoughts flow into sound
into the shadows
but, more importantly
out of me
I am surprised when I hear the final beat and know that I am done
Sitting in a Greyhound on the way home
a desire rises in me and I pull out headphones
start my playlist of worship music
and mouth the words with the singers
(no singing, not with other people who could be disturbed)
At first, this is mechanical
the motions
the song I know inside-out, upside-down, backwards-through
and then it takes root
and I sing without sound
God, you are
You are
and I imagine-
no, more than imagine- I remember
I remember who he is.
Christ is before me, I feel him
and I sing to him without words
I sing to him without voice
I sing to him as my body rocks to the music
finding internal melodies and rhythms to swim in
and in him

Those seeds have found their soil at last.

Poem 1: I Stand on the Surface of Mars
Poem 2: There Are Wolves in the Forest

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