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Poem & Pic of the Month: November 2014

Every month, I post one of my poems (paired with one of my pictures), sharing its origin and some of its essence. Here is my Poem & Pic of the Month for November 2014:

Shadow Dancing in the Catskills

by Patrick Bishop

I sit in the mountains

waiting for what I don't know,

and knowing it is already here

An old spider's web,

running along the rocks,

winks in and out off existence

moved by the wind

illuminated by the sun

disappearing back in shadow

It has a message for me.

The breeze

swings the fern back and forth,

sometimes violently,

making its presence known, then

gently relaxing, it subsides like a wave

It has a message for me.

Shadows of limbs and leaves

dance with the wind on the large boulder

I have claimed as my seat.

Somewhere, light is received,

and an unseen breath of nature

moves everthing around me

creating the dancer and dance

filling the forest with an ensemble of rustling performers

silhoutted by shadows of the original.

There is a message here for me.

Both form and shadow are real.

One creates the other

only when bathed in light.

In darkness, both are unknown.


Last week, I spent six days at an experiential Enneagram workshop in the Catskill Mountains in Phoenicia, New York (not far from Woodstock). On one particular day, it was unseasonably warm and beautiful, with full sun and a breeze that shifted from gentle to robust. In between afternoon sessions, I walked up into the mountains, surrounded by the full palette of fall colors being illumated by the bright light of day. The combination of the breeze, sunshine, nature and my "being there" created this peaceful place to be. This poem came from that space.

The Picture

I wish I could say this picture was taken in the mountains where I wrote the poem, but I didn't have the presence of mind to do that. At the time, I was simply enjoying the moment. This photo is from a walk I took this summer on the campus of Aquinas College near my home. I like how the spider web is illuminated by the sun, similar to the reference in my poem. The dragonfly is an added bonus.

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