By Timothy P McLaughlin

 Here, in the wild, where there’s almost no chance
of another human stopping through,
where there’s no hopping round
patterns of perception or acceptance, 

my little cells uncoil like June cactus buds,
my ticking brain unwinds to silence,
my chest splits to let my heart out for a walk:
things become the softness they rightly are. 

This wall of mountain, with no edges, holds me.
This rock in my palm also wears a delicate skin.
The air and the angels spread their silken touch
over all of this place: lighter than mist, finer than feathers. 

Whatever you have suffered,
whatever low roads you have trod,
this is where you must stop and be broken
open in rich contradiction

savoring the deep peace possible now,
longing for the untold freedom of hereafter.

Timothy P. McLaughlin is a poet, spoken word artist, and teacher. He founded the Spoken Word Program at the Santa Fe Indian School and he and his students received numerous awards and were featured in many media publications and programs, among them The New York Times and The PBS New Hour. He is the editor of the award-winning book Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth and the producer of a poetry album and documentary film both titled Moccasins and Microphones: Modern Native Storytelling through Performance Poetry. McLaughlin received a Lannan Writing Residency Fellowship in 2011 and his writing has appeared in a variety of journals. His debut collection of poems, Rooted & Risen (Hiraeth Press 2016), chronicles an inspired intimacy with the still wild places & presences of the Earth. He is best known for his powerful style of embodied recitation and his commitment to revitalizing ancient oral traditions in fresh contexts. Visit him on the web at

Timothy is part of our Becoming a Nature Evolutionary Teleseminar Series.  You can listen to his talk, "Rooted and Risen: Oral Poetry in Dialogue with the Earth" on July 24th at 3 PM EST.  For more information go to: