by Judith Roche

I believe in the cave paintings at Lascaux,

the beauty of the clavicle,

the journey of the salmon.

I believe in all the gods—

I just don’t like some of them.

I believe the war is always against the imagination,

is recurring, repetitive, and relentless.

I believe in fairies, elves, angels and bodisatvas,

Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

I believe that Raven invented the Earth

And so did Coyote. In archeology

lies the clue. The threshold is numinous

and the way in is the way out.

I believe in the alphabets, all of them

and the stories seeping from between their letters.

I believe in dance as prayer, that the heart

beat invented rhythm and chant—

or is it the other way around?

I believe in the wisdom of the body.

I believe that art saves lives

and love makes it worth living them.

And that could be the other way around, too.

From Wisdom of the Body, Seattle, Washington: Black Heron Press, 2007. Judith selected this poem as her “soulfood” poem as part of her featured reading at the SoulFood Poetry Night readings I curate in Redmond, Washington. Her reading was on 15 November 2012. Judith passed away on 14 November 2019.