Land of the Smoking Fire

Peace Poem - Land of the Smoking Fire

At certain times of the year, mostly in times of battle,
two dry sticks rubbed together light the ancient pipe,
since this year’s suffering has nearly swept the board.
For even as peace burns all tribes are affected by war.

As smoke trails round, poetry turns my body full circle
onto dropped knees, until the door of my heart, sacred
shrine for the Creator, opens. The holy traveller enters,
seeking sanctuary and shelter for the light of the world.

In the vastness of the savannah it is only the shepherd,
tending the rising moonlight, who listens in on the soul,
oblivious that our world has become completely insane.
A world faraway from the sacred tree and burning bush.

No longer do we offer incantations for what we receive.
No longer do we welcome the divine in our daily bread,
nor the food of the earth. We export the miracle of life,
the miracle of our own life, for imports of hate and fear.

Let our prayers be released from this long wooden pipe,
let us unite war and peace until they are no longer foes.
Tell us again how this year, despite our hearts breaking,
we still kissed the ground that love walked naked upon.

Things happened this year that cannot ever be undone.
Our people are dying one by one. For every time death
crosses our path, we inhale the great spirit of warriors,
a peaceful journey back to the land of the smoking fire.

Copyright © Deborah Gregory 2016
Image Credit: Google Images

Dear Poets, Let us light a sacred fire, burn a candle for
peace this New Year’s Eve. Blessings always, Deborah.

14 thoughts on “Land of the Smoking Fire

    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful words Damyanti and welcome to my poetry blog. I wrote this NYE, seemed just right after last year’s burning, darkness and ashes. Looking forward to discovering more on your own website! Happy New Year, blessings, Deborah.

  1. Last year was a tough year for me. But I grew in experience and woke up from “that” slumber of ignorance. I learned a little bit and my soul grew closer to light .

    I appreciate your brilliant poem, the imagery you’ve painted speaks to me personally. Thank you Debs

    1. It’s simply wonderful to see you here again dear poet! I’m sorry to hear that you had a tough year too. For many months I stopped writing while ‘death’ relentlessly pushed itself into my life.

      Thank you so much for your kind-hearted words, and wonderful feedback. Rich, creative blessings for the New Year, Deborah.

  2. I’m feeling enormously grateful to the internet at the moment. Where else can I connect with so many like-minded souls, be blessed by their wisdom and beauty? Your poem, image, everyone’s comments are restoring my hope, peace and balance after a fall season that has severely challenged them.

    I’ve needed this. When I finish writing this I will gather objects the are meaningful to me and create a ritual to honor my soul’s truths and the inspiration I’ve received here this morning.

    Thank you, Deborah, and All. Namaste.

    1. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my poem Jeanie, thank you so much for your wonderful feedback. Last year was such a tough year for pretty much everyone I know, yet somehow here we are, slowly emerging from those dark times, more powerfully aware of the Light of this world than ever before.

      NYE felt the perfect day to light the peace pipe and draw on the meditative darkness, where two dry sticks rubbed together (conflict) would light the way for deeper peace. How could it be any other way?!

      I too feel thankful to have found exceptional, like-minded souls here in the blogosphere. Many pass through, a few stay behind, and from time to time, others return. I hope your soul’s ritual went magnificently!

      Love and blessings, Deborah.


    1. Thank you so much Anna for your lovely words! Yes, a second, and hopefully third book once I’ve finished writing my 22 Major Arcana, tarot poems this year. Blessings, Deborah.

  3. Thank you, Deborah. I imagine the prayers at Standing Rock have been powerful this week. I’m deeply touched by the lonely shepherd and his warring flock. I thought of my own life in the 4th stanza with the loss of the divine in daily life–how often do I unconsciously grab for food without giving thanks for the miracle that it is? Then the plea to tell us how to kiss the ground that “love walked naked upon.”

    I read your poem earlier in the week, but wasn’t ready to respond. Once family left, I realized I had tried to “cheat” grief through avoidance and had not offered Solstice prayers and rituals for my brother’s suffering and death. I spent yesterday alone, kept my wood stove burning, lit an oil lamp near a photo of my brother and me from 1964, and remembered, remembered. Last night, I dreamed of plants that had withstood extreme cold and were still flowering. All is not lost as long as we keep remembering.

    1. As always, I’m deeply touched by your kind-hearted reply to my poetry. Thank you so much Elaine for also gifting me such an inspirational title, and for that, I am dedicating this poem to you my friend!

      This afternoon I’ve been washing and preparing vegetables with love, remembering to meet the divine and offer prayers of gratitude … something I don’t do nearly enough. The lonely shepherd and his warring flock, the vision alone breaks my heart … and yet, something feels intrinsically right, even though it feels wrong. Perhaps it’s always this way with the opposites.

      I hope yesterday went well, as you lit sacred fires and remembered your brother Jim. You are such an inspiration, for instead of brushing off uncomfortable feelings, you dug in deeper, searching for meaning. Endlessly, you remind me of the importance of ritual.

      I loved hearing about your dream last night! Plants that flower despite extreme coldness … what a wonderful, heartening and hope-filled image for you! Blessings, Deborah.

  4. This has been a tough year indeed – full of personal challenges for me as well as the losses, conflict and political upheaval that affects us globally. You have voiced the feelings of many, I believe, with your beautifully crafted words and we must not forget that in amongst all of this chaos that love does still walk on this sacred ground.

    The picture you have used is perfect – I do wonder why there are so few pictures of Native American women smoking the pipe. I am sure I read somewhere that they used it in ceremonies also.

    Thank you for posting this poem Deborah, it is superbly written – I can feel the sense of peace and love for the world within it, something that is so needed in 2017. A peaceful, happy, healthy new year to you and may your creative vein continue to produce a flow of more beautiful poetry in the coming year.

    1. Thank you so much Sophia for your delightful response to my NYE poem. Whether it’s been with personal, worldwide or political issues, 2016 has been hugely challenging for so many of us! I’m really pleased that you’ve encountered so many layers within this poem, and that you resonate with the sacredness, and healing qualities of love … despite all the heartache the year has brought to so many people, families, nations and Mother Earth.

      To be honest I found the above image on google and fell in love with it immediately. At the time (yesterday!) I wasn’t searching for a man or a woman in particular … but after your comment my interest is stirred so I’ll have to investigate the subject of Native American women and smoking the peace pipe further. Once again many thanks for your beautiful gift of words. A peaceful and happy New Year to you too. Blessings, Deborah.

  5. Deborah, thank you – yes, I’m with you and all for smoking the peace pipe, burning the candle & lighting the fire. A fine and beautiful poem – be the shepherd who looks out for the lost one – you’ve been there so you know … I am deeply touched.

    1. Thank you so much Susan for your wonderful comment. The burning, darkness and ashes linger here on the last day of the year, in the land of the smoking fire. The nature of the shepherd is close to my heart, in more ways than I ever knew.

      Namaste my dear friend, Namaste.

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