Sally Sandler | Selected poems

Deep Forest Wind

I long to hear the ancient wind that sighs
throughout the tops of old forest trees
and fills the primal canopy of leaves
with melancholy echoes—hollow, high.

The history of the world is in this wind.
The force we cannot see is yet so vast
it’s touched every present, every past
and secret since before the dawn of man.

To hear the wind’s bellows fill the sky
is to feel its lungs breathing me toward home
and memories deep within my bones,
without fully comprehending why.

To worship at the temple of the wind
I lift my countenance … and breathe in.


Begin Again to Rig the Mast

In my memory it was more
than mother’s ash we delivered
to the harbor by the bay,
on a warm August eve.
It was father who that time
needed help to be born,

to let go silent cries of grief
into the forgiving wind,
to breathe deep the scent of pine
into his remaining lung,
and feel the supple summer breeze
swaddle his arthritic bones.

To be embraced in nature’s arms,
and lullabied by lapping waves,
rocked by the earth’s turn
toward the ships moored at sea—
they so many silver stars
in a dim darkling sky.

And later when her ship set sail
to a far imagined shore,
he commenced again to stand,
squint his eyes against
the sun,
and begin again
rig the mast.

Sally Sandler writes biographies, poetry, and children’s books. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she is a longtime resident of San Diego, California, where she is a docent and historian at the San Diego Botanic Garden, as well as a wife, a mother, and a grandmother of four. Her writing is informed by personal journeys and a deep connection with the outdoor world. Her books are available on

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