Written by Richard Bonfield

For Alfred Russell Wallace

Sanyasin of Sumatra
Cloud watcher – orchid contemplator
Branched out on his own
Five million years ago
An adept in Green Mansions
Who found his own path through the emerald forest
Discovered the herb lore
Swinging down the barrel vaulted crypt of Borneo
Climbing through misty parables of filtered sunlight
A solitary – fruitarian Franciscan
Standing aside from the human story
To amble the byways
Beyond the internecine feuds of the hairless ones
More concerned with the deep thought of the jungle
Immersed in its emerald immensity
Part of the wider web of being
Stitched into the quilt of Gaia
Sidelined – like Wallace himself
Knowing all the answers
But too modest to presume to know the questions
Far more a part of deeper time
Far less concerned with snatching the laurels
Peaceable – Otherworldly
What humanity has been striving to recapture
Ever since its ascendency
In monasteries and desert places
The fruit enjoyed for its own sake
And not for any thought of gain
The freshness of each present moment
In Eden – in the here and now.

Richard Bonfield © Born Free Poet in Residence

First published in WILDNESS: Animals in their Habitats by Richard Bonfield and Paintings by Pollyanna Pickering
Wildness first published July 2012 Reprinted October 2012

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