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VOICES: Reflections on Cumberland Island
by Gwen Foor

This piece of poetry is a result of experiences, feelings and journal writings that took place around a backpacking trip on Cumberland Island off the southern coast of Georgia. It is a literary attempt at expressing this individual's search for her voice, her truth and her many connections with earth consciousness.

Why was I hurting?
It was not from outside of me.
It was not near. Those were simply agitations.
It came from deep within,
Far reaching, through me
Signaling from another place.
I could not understand.

I hadn't learned that kind of listening yet,
Trusting my body's voice.
I had been hating it for years,
Years of speaking pain, ugliness, loneliness,
Desires unfullfilled!
The waves became my solace, their motion
And the hot breath of the sun on my skin
And the reassuring lull of life in the live oaks above.
And that solace became a voice,
A voice of deeper connection, many connections,
Connections I was only beginning to make.

The answer appeared days later
In a dark phone booth, the air turbid with an approaching
Storm and the dark, musky smells of street corners.
" the hospital?.....a lotta pain?
But when?....When?.....When did it happen?"
That day on the island
Some 1,500 miles separated us.
One voice bound us together.

To some, this may have seemed a small thing.
To me, it was sacred.
It was pain felt, yet unrealized
Guiding me like a deaf mute
Anxious unfamiliar hand signals flying
Slapping and beating the air.
What? What? What the Hell are you trying to tell me?
I can't hear!
I don't understand!
I hear a miserable voice, my miserable voice
Filling my head.
My feeling-sorry-for-myself voice is
I need...I need...I need...
to be...
more gentle
with myself,
more trusting
of my sacred voice.
Then the answers will come.

Though we are as yet unable to pay for them, the Northern Michigan Journal welcomes your poetry submissions. Please e-mail in plain text format to If you have a home page or any biographical information, please include that as well.
Links From This Article
Words on the Water: Maggie Figgis Island Sestina: Kathleen Firestone
December Morning: James Mitchell Ripening: Duncan Sprattmoran

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