Prana Mandoe

the quiet of the land

I.

the quiet of the land

stretches over hills

trees rustle as the breeze

travels on sunshine

my sitting breath, the cabin,

the leaves are of one peace

mynahs squawk and far-off cars

whoosh by on the highway

at night the distant barking dogs

are a comfort like pelting rain

the drumroll on a tin roof

deafens watchers of television

and when the surf breaks on cliffs

the echoes boom across meadows

the boulders rattle, chatter

roll, knock, recede, talk

so too wind gusts,

splitting the lychee orchard

it roars, it whistles, it fills

the ears of a child

holding her arms out ecstatic

yet this too is quiet

in the vast life of

our spinning planet

as is her greatest sound,

the maelstrom of river

it reverberates in forest

shakes the bedrock

two days a torrent,

two weeks a stream

gurgling into

a moist pocket

this quiet

extends

to the farthest reaches

of our ability

to

listen

II.

one step,

then the next

up a switchback

into sky

at the mountain’s knees

goose calls ricochet

off crater walls

within the greater quiet

this music

sharpens the mind

notice, baby birds repeat

the same high cry

like a beeping

car door

notice

internal quiet

the flow of breath

aligning bones

the flow of work

absorbing mind

the feel of soil

the smile of cilantro

how a coconut frond

rides imperceptible puffs

of air,

ah, air

perceive

her patterns

breathe out

breath in

III.

hey

small squirts

the dark floor leads

to one big door

the quiet of the long hall

makes us tiptoe

we peek in

at the altar

a buddha, flowers

water

grown-ups sit

guavas drop

pak!

plop!

Prana Joy Mandoe is a mother, poet, 8th grade teacher, and gardener in the small town of Hilo, Hawai'i. Her work has appeared in Mothering Magazine and Bamboo Ridge Journal of Hawai'i Literature and Arts.