susan smith nash


savagely gentle and as dark as a dawn

promised but not delivered;

I am a person of many secrets,

hidden words I share with no one --

my life a series of fleeting encounters

human contact limited, like flying low,

scraping my belly on the tops of mountains

thoughts foaming and pure

and inaccessible.


only fools still believe

perception is more important than the truth


the last century was a factory of false philosophy;

ideology we only pretended to believe;

that reality can be constructed from political will

that humanity does not require a human compass.


only the blind believe

utopias are not paid for in blood


my secret is that I am not connected.

my dreams are not sheep

to be butchered for someone else's wedding.

I have kept myself apart --

you probably divined this, but what does it matter?

I could never believe in any reality constructed

merely by force of my own longing;


earth, fire, water, air are not enough --

creation requires wisdom, too.


I am safe here in the mountains and rivers

in this sad bridge between artificial territories,

maps drawn as if the hand of man could rename identity & heritage;

some still try,

but aren't we past all that?

I stare into the sky and into the clouds

mirrors of the glory of God.


the mapmakers haven't seen these wild mountains

the slender ravines and trackless cascades;

why believe that saying something will make it so;

that perception holds forth more weight than truth?


I want to live and breathe

on earth, not paper -- this earth

a body sculpted by poets & history,

how can you define truth, dignity, family joy?

the world clings to its delusions

and I travel alone

skimming peaks, sinking into valleys

begging for light, union, final truth --



with answers carved in calligraphy,

poetry woven into carpets

holding the joy I have searched for all my life,

I am a woman of many secrets

many dark dreams of night

of Nakitchevan

stepping stone to the clouds,

harbor for souls learning life on earth.


-- susan smith nash