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What Crow Would Say ...

A Shaman's Prayer Print E-mail
Written by Max Roth   

Kami is again fortunate to have a truly lovely poem for you to read: "A Shaman's Prayer" by M.L.'Max' Roth. Max definitely fits in here at Coyote Madonna.

By M.L. 'Max' Roth


Breaking at the bottom of our ramp she inquired
In the middle of a wide swinging left
Floating over asphalt waters in the dark
Weeds, wildflowers grown tall and silhouetted
.....vines searching damp retaining walls
A wheel sliding through my cupped fingers
Alone again, where a moment before I panicked overcome a tsunami of oncoming headlights
Ghosts in our rearview mirror leaving the freeway behind
A giant neon lizard slipping through mountains its trail
.....from Pasadena to the Santa Clarita valley
Cruising an empty passage, spied upon by pigeons
.....late, illuminated
Only I travel this road tonight on fumes uncertain
And the fireflies
It's not as if I hadn't inquired of myself previously
What is your name, is this the plan, is that a plane
.....blinking overhead in our cobalt sky
.....or a traveling star
Are you a shaman?

I searched the dashboard's backlit gauges
What words had not been spoken between us on our long drive
Is this, her query, fruition of a kind
When we were kids, you realized I was of The Path
Yes, I finally confessed
Dreaming because I knew this boulevard so well
And the night swallowed us.

While you sleep
I am a sojourner without time and place
Free to move, constrained simply by my own limitations
My pain inexplicable
Please call my name softly
For I bear tired crosses, empty pockets, no miracles.

I was once a boy who wore his catcher's mitt
.....and played at staring into the sun
I was an atheist rejecting God
.....because I wanted to be my father
I was a Jew with all of the attendant nightmares
.....and a distaste for my own exclusivity
I was a rebel Zennist
A Taoist seeker of the middle way
Though the watercourse does not flow except
.....between tight rocks, trapped in tide pools
One gets roughed up, learns, carries the pain
One does not arrive without impunity
I was one with the spirit, blind, afraid of being alone
I was one who believed we are born alone and die alone
I was misinformed on many issues
So when you reach out
Please call my name softly
I bear tired crosses, misfortunes, insecurities
And I am not in the business of miracles.

I am a shaman, a healer, a not very wise man
Who speaks with the guides
.....Black Raven Dancer, Grey Cat Elder,
.....Bear Medicine Doctor, Jesus, all positive healing
.....entities, teaching entities of The Four Directions
.....of The Great Mystery
I will ground through God
Take you within
Breathe for you
Filling your lungs with violet light
Bear's smudge and rattle and herbal pot
Sitting on my pillow
I inhale deep the spirit
You will call my name, Glowing Hands
But please don't ask how
Because I only do what I do, as it is given
And I play such a small part
You change your life, not I
I am not in the business of miracles
Energy is fickle
And whom shall I call when I am sick
When I wretch and pray for death?

Who will pray for Glowing Hands while I sleep
Yes, I am a shaman, it has been given
I shall turn the medicine wheel
Accept its gifts
Discover myself as The Great Mystery
But who sits the pillow
Who prays for the shaman?


The guides do not speak
It is given, understood
From the beginning as The Great Mystery lifts
.....coaxing giant rich redwoods through the cloud break
To realize this life in full, its aesthetic beauty
The drama of bounty
One is of this life, not bound in it
One lives apart from the tribe
Yet is tied by love to The Mother's children
With toughened hemp, chewed and knotted
Dragged through the river over sharp stones
Burning away the hours one travels a ceaseless journey
Into the depths of the soul of one's own humanity
You will come to me, calling softly
And I will know you, know your affliction
As it is given that I cut my self a wound
The natural glory and scars
As it is given that I respect The Great Mystery
As it is given that we share pain
And still I drive further along the journey
Turn the medicine wheel, for mine is not renunciation
Sitting across the river I watch
Make of me what you will
It has been given that I shall heal
You will call me curandero
You will call me bear doctor
You will call me yogi
You will call me shaman
And I will patiently sit, awaiting death, feeling your pain
Leaking oil at a red light behind a quiet bronze Lexus
She looks at me wondering if it will ever change
Does The Path end
Who prays for the shaman?

Just once I would like to pull my own tooth
Sooth my own stomach spasms I tell her, and she nods
Drain my sinuses she says
Ease my bunions.

Take me back, peel the layers, make the little girl smile
Prepare me for love, Glowing Hands
Make me whole for I know not what that is
Steal my loneliness, Glowing Hands, in this life
.....ease my bruises
Help me feel God, it's been so long my ribs are sore
All of that I can do, it's a strange fate
And the neighborhood seems familiar, I know we are close
It smells right
I can feel it against my skin
Home, I inquire of her
Hold a glorious thought on our long drive home.

© M.L. Roth

M.L. Roth lives and writes in Southern California.

Comments (1) >>
written by Jeff, July 26, 2006

I really liked this, so I thought I would put a comment. It is well written, thoughful, and full of the internal feelings of many people through out the world. It reminded me of The Wasteland by TS Eliot, which os my favorite story, so that probably added to my liking. Thanks.

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