Into the Forest

(Excerpts from “Poetry Meets Photography” Exhibit featuring John Leslie Lange,  the author of “Hafiz and I,” a collection of poems inspired by the writings of the Sufi masters, Hafiz and Rumi and Julie Kruger,  a professional photographer and artist who specializes in dreamy landscapes populated by the emotions of love and longing. This presentation is a collaboration of their work in the form of a conversation between John’s poetry and Julie’s images).

~~  Into The Forest  ~~


Alone I stand, looking back

Up the canyon

Across the ravine

At the holy spot where

 My beloved had stood.

A vision, a phantom,

An impossible dream.


Had she even been real?


Only a feather

To mark the spot

Where she took flight,

Back to the beginning.

Beyond reach,

Beyond hope.



I cup my ear

For any echo

Of my heart’s last prayer.




I reach for my quiver

But there are no more arrows.

All spent,

On words that flew

Wide of the mark.

My bow, now useless

Falls from my fingers.



My sword,

Bloodied and broken,

Lies at my feet,

Proven useless

In slaying her demons.

In anguish,

I kick it over the cliff.



My heart aches, 

A dry well

That pumps no water.

An empty bottle

That pours no wine.

A high flying bird

Whose wings melted in the sun.



The journey awaits,

No map, no north star,

No path to the end.

Just brambles, and loneliness

And the long dark

Of a foolish journey

To slay a nameless dragon.

To retrieve a worthless jewel,

To bring back home to no one.



Empty handed,

I turn to the forest,

My companion desolation,

My armor despair.

My boots weighed by sorrow,

No honor, no glory, no love.

The quest has lost it grail.


Into the forest I go.


~~  John Leslie Lange  ~~

(From the project “A Conversation: Poetry Meets Photography”)