Four Spiritual Naturalist Poems by Dennis Oliver

A Moment

For a moment “emptiness” made sense,
strange tense: more than present,
neglectful of what might come,
bereft of oughts
no regrets, nor noticing the past,
yet in its way the fullest that I ever was
(or wasn’t, as I sensed a deeper truth).

But – here’s the thing of it –
then, as now, I could not, cannot say,
or care to say, I cannot, and see no reason
why to try to tell you what it was,
though I think that at the time there was
something like the ocean – I was at the edge of,
or perhaps within (as if I knew).



There were and will be moments in the day
when all comes clear except the way time freezes,
and then melts away:
sunsets, sunrise, love and baby birth–
even daddy death.
Awful, all, and wonder filled, yet
they leave like hurried guests (never fully grasped,
unnoted or, we fear, unnoticed),
sadly, slip away from memory
as though they are too light for flesh, too heavy for our triviality.

Are they truly gone, or only out of sight, flying with the wind?
Perhaps we’ll find them sunk beneath the surface soil of memory,
planted deep within a corner of eternity.


All of a sudden

All of a sudden you find perfection.
You’re lifted from your self and situation
relax the grip, refresh the view
‘till everything is new again.

It might happen with a stranger’s smile,
A door-way invitation,
With some new blooming,
With birdsong, baby crying,
pebbles changing colour in the rain,
a squirrel on the lowest limb,
a child’s music making in the wind,
the turning of a stranger,
revealing something so familiar…

Nothing’s different from the ordinary days you’re in,
excepting that you know – right there, right then
despite all ignorance and failings,
the miseries of history notwithstanding,
it is good to be here.

If in this resounding moment’s shimmering
You had to fly away to death,
Or knew the real colour, weight,
true smell and taste of all your living,
It would not matter.
It would still be good to be here,
where every moan is full of laughter,
And compassion fills the pleasure.


Between Two Homes

Between two homes
a tiny patch of soil, strewn with rubble,
sustains a tree, so tall it towers above our roofs.
We all have wondered at it, worried that, perhaps,
its roots might damage walls, pierce pipes, shift floors.

One winter morning we neighbours meet
and speak out Our concerns again.
One question is preeminent:
If and when the trouble comes, it’s whose responsibility?
The air is warming as the conversation chills…

Then they turn their heads towards heaven,
And wonder at the branches’ lacy pattern.
Each feels a thrill along the spine,
which is more compelling than their fear or anger.

Not to notice such a real and present beauty
is the greater danger.


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1 thought on “Four Spiritual Naturalist Poems by Dennis Oliver”

  1. I especially enjoyed the first poem, A Moment. I liked its spare near-contradictions such as “emptiness” and “fullest” and the poet sounding pleasantly self-aware of how language does not easily convey what the moment was like. And I appreciated even more the second stanza for going a step further to show the irony — “here’s the thing of it”– of wanting to communicate the moment anyway, and without understanding why. I recognized a bit of all those puzzlements, and they can paralyze a writer or make for dead prose. But not here.

    Brock Haussamen


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