The importance of the integrity and wisdom of elders is a concept often overlooked in our western culture. Indigenous peoples understood and valued their elders and this poem by Ian McFarlane beautifully captures the essence of their intrinsic value. We thank him for sharing his poem with us.
(for the elders)
Speak softly of those early years,
and gently taste the spring;
drawn from a well of healing tears,
on memory’s passing wing.
Transcend the stone convention
by gathering fresh moss,
with words too light to mention
the weight of history’s loss.
The candle flame is slowing;
the eye becomes less keen,
but the sap is bravely flowing
through leaves that yet are green.
For you have told a story
that needs no further proof,
and the rhythm of its glory
beats like rain upon the roof.
Shadows dim the sundial’s face
as clouds press down above,
and the Rubicon is crossed with grace -
on the neap tide of your love.
Ian McFarlane – February, 2010
Elm Grove Sanctuary – my place of the heart
Sister Laurel Clare Lloyd-Jones lfsf (1st January 1989)
I inhabit a Grove wherein is my God,
house of cedar and pine
not of this place
one with it.
home, simple and small, but not too small,
always accessible to those who seek solace.
by kookaburras who laugh and look down
share our joy.
nestle near the two rivers,
to the ancients who roamed this holy place,
rugged blue – grey mountains cloaked in eucalypts
the distance at evening's light.
heart glad to be as poor as this
such riches - yellow, gold our Autumn elms
fiery poplar tongues shout God's majesty
the rushing, singing rivers
chilled as nature sleeps.
of all creatures come to our door
our faith and love.
orphaned joey grown to fullness and health
at dawn to share our day.
at evening the wild geese fly
resting earth sighs and moves.
breezes cry aloud
our praises rise
the shining jewels above.
river's trout jump as the Marsh fly seeks its prey
the long summer days roll over us
the berry and the nut
we go to our rest satisfied.
music we have the wind through the elms,
cry of the velvet gang-gang, the tinkling rain drops,
how can I know envy of others?
see the rhythm of my Soul, I know the closeness of my God
I share these gifts of wonder with all who
live this paradise
know it as my inheritance.
filled with crystal Essence
with wisdom past
and ages yet to be
fashioned from the gold of unseen Realms
drawing a measure of Their cool infinity
to quench the thirst of humankind for Love
tended by those helpers of the Guardians
whose hearts and souls
acquit them for their gentle task
i thank you.
i who am not yet of an age
to draw upon the Water for myself
without its peace
would surely die
(This poem was written in 1987 by a guest to Elm
Grove by a man called Jim who came to camp beside the river. From memory he was Canadian and he loved jazz
but sadly we don't have his surname recorded.)
(For the compassionate wisdom of Laurel Lloyd-Jones)
beat back intolerance,
a time and place
is - and equally - is not
is to risk suspension
what we know of form,
what we believe of substance;
a leaf caught on the cusp
of a dangerous definition.
Because hubris defines compassion
in a way that disenchants hope -
to understand the leaf
with what we know of love,
to seek all we need to know
Ian McFarlane -
A Myth Revisited
This poem written in 1987 at Elm Grove Sanctuary,
four years after it was founded by Edwin & Laurel
...ahh...'twas like a dream shrouded in the mists of
where earth mother smiles.
I remember … ah … yes, but that was yesterday …
and I saw them come with wondrous eyes they looked
this land, and loved it much.
Has such time passed by … can it be so?
When work is but a labour of love, time has no
The garden here now nurtures its people – even through
It bears fruit to grow and give ...Twilight deepens …
The bees have had their day …
and the quiet, sits comfortably in the valley
where the trees whisper to each other of the day,
being but a blink to them who have seen the Light,
the light … from the old homestead …
within those wondrous boughs … and in that lamp lit
Our Lady of the
in her long flowing gown of yesteryear
and spring flowers in her hair … still … she stands,
her gaze toward the light of that silver orb twinkling
in that rushing bubbling water near the meeting place
with another …
Today a lady oft is seen amongst those sentinels –
who was born this day, when … ah,
but it seemed like yesterday … Yesterday when roamed
those four legged monsters (with itchy backsides),
I heard those trees call out! …
and yet how strangely forgiving they be …
Tales also tell of the man that won the heart of the
a broad, strong man of ruddy complexion,
though seldom seen now is his old friend standing at
with foot on knee his back to trunk same colour as he.
For today a young and melodious sapling stirs the old
at the place of the moon
and is often seen shepherding a flock of the sometimes
scurrying creatures that come and go to this place …
yet for each, in their own way a mark is left …
ahh … 'twas but yesterday … I was here …
in my dreams.