Two poems: Unseen Guru and Dark Wood

by Cyril Dabydeen


poetry corner


In her cave, the innermost

recess, in the Himalayas–

nowhere else, what she

meditated upon, praying,

voiceless in Gurukul


This young woman being

nowhere else, as it came to

her from long ago, she said,

1,500 BC to be exact–

what’s seen, but indeed,

unheard of before


What she intensely felt,

sacred vibrations, and

a hand, a real hand–

touched her, more than

her unseen guru; and she

became suddenly afraid


Because of someone else

in her cave-sanctuary

alone with her; and

more tremors she felt,

deep in her soul


How did it actually feel?

What… I ask her?

Yes, how divine?

“Juicy,” she replies,

the word that comes to her,

about holiness…not

sexiness, nothing

else implied.




With Homer, or another–

         beginning anew because of

the senses, a tempest I swear to, what

        I bring to you with sounds that

know no boundaries; or a real forest

       I will consider again in the wind,

a cyclone I don’t know much about–

       but will acknowledge in my dreams,

in a dark wood, what I hear about, what

       keeps being timeless, believe me–

far from Ithaca: a quest from long ago

       which never goes far away


Cyril DabydeenA former Poet Laureate of Ottawa, Cyril Dabydeen was born in Guyana, South America. He teaches Writing at the University of Ottawa. He has written a number of books including novels and poetry. He is included in the Heinemann, Oxford and Penguin Books of Caribbean Verse. His novel, Drums of My Flesh won the top Guyana Prize and was nominated for the 2007 IMPAC/Dublin Literary Prize. Contact–