/ Two Poems

Two Poems

by Diana Woodcock

Imbolic (Candlemas) Day

Halfway there now, the light 
returning, my soul begins yearning
for the soul of nature, giver
of all life.  With reverence 
and humility, I seek to know
the Mystery, close my door
on the chaos to compose haiku 
and a five-bu candlestick, all 
the while wishing I were brazen 
enough to scrawl graffiti across
a government wall, like those brave
young Syrians stirring an uprising.

Halfway there now, I’m sensing 
all life stirring Denali to Death Valley,
Siberia to Arabia, along the flyways
and ancient migratory routes 
land and sea – every single creature 
loved by me.  The light returning, 
I spend my days discerning 
poems the shamal scrawls across 
the desert, whirling to the rhythm 
of the scant rains’ refrain.

At night, halfway there now,
after the day’s lengthening light,
I settle into the nebulous dark         
and wait for questions of faith,
the revelations, to come – 
swayed this is no time now 
to succumb to doubt or fear.

We are almost there.


When Muslims encounter God’s miracles in or 
through nature, they whisper this Arabic word.

If you complain the desert is drab, 
I’ll know you’ve never watched it 
transform under the sunset’s glow.  

If you insist heaven is a place above
and beyond, I’ll know you have yet to open
your eyes and ears to what’s right here –

gods dwelling among us – have yet 
to reverse the belief that the species Homo 
 is the center of the universe.  

If you wail all is ugly and broken, 
I’ll know you have failed to go 
into the service of beauty – to yield 

to curiosity and the mystery 
of the god within, the divinity 
of Earth herself, to spend 

a night on a forest floor in the sight 
of bears and owls, to awaken to the call 
of birds and the warmth of the rising sun.

If you decide you’re done, there’s nothing
more to live for, I’ll know it’s time
to take you by the hand and guide you

to the seashore or riverbank where you can 
witness both heron and fish thanking their lucky 
stars to be alive right where they are.

Diana Woodcock

About Diana Woodcock

Diana Woodcock is the author of seven chapbooks and three poetry collections, most recently Tread Softly (FutureCycle Press, 2018) and Near the Arctic Circle (Tiger’s Eye Press, 2018).  Her two books forthcoming in 2021 are Facing Aridity (a finalist for the 2020 Prism Prize for Climate Literature, Homebound Publications); and Holy Sparks (a finalist for the Paraclete Press Poetry Award).  Recipient of the 2011 Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Poetry Prize for Women for her debut collection, Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders, her work appears in Best New Poets 2008 and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.  Currently teaching in Qatar at Virginia Commonwealth University’s branch campus, VCUarts Qatar, she holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, where her research was an inquiry into the role of poetry in the search for an environmental ethic.

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.