terrapoetica
  e a r t h p o e t r y




Saturday, January 17, 2009


Little Summer Poem Touching the Subject of Faith

Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun's brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can't hear

anything, I can't see anything --
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker --
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing --
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,

the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet --
all of it
happening
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body
is sure to be there.


~Mary Oliver


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Poem for South African Women



Poem for South African Women

Our own shadows disappear as the feet of thousands
by the tens of thousands pound the fallow land
into new dust that
rising like a marvelous pollen will be
fertile
even as the first woman whispering
imagination to the trees around her made
for righteous fruit
from such deliberate defense of life
as no other still
will claim inferior to any other safety
in the world

The whispers too they
intimate to the inmost ear of every spirit
now aroused they
carousing in ferocious affirmation
of all peaceable and loving amplitude
sound a certainly unbounded heat
from a baptismal smoke where yes
there will be fire

And the babies cease alarm as mothers
raising arms
and heart high as the stars so far unseen
nevertheless hurl into the universe
a moving force
irreversible as light years
traveling to the open eye

And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea:

we are the ones we have been waiting for.

~June Jordan


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Beginners



Dedicated to the memory of Karen Silkwood and Eliot Gralla

"From too much love of living,
Hope and desire set free,
Even the weariest river
Winds somewhere to the sea-"


But we have only begun
To love the earth.

We have only begun
To imagine the fullness of life.

How could we tire of hope?
- so much is in bud.

How can desire fail?
- we have only begun

to imagine justice and mercy,
only begun to envision

how it might be
to live as siblings with beast and flower,
not as oppressors.

Surely our river
cannot already be hastening
into the sea of nonbeing?

Surely it cannot
drag, in the silt,
all that is innocent?

Not yet, not yet -
there is too much broken
that must be mended,

too much hurt we have done to each other
that cannot yet be forgiven.

We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.

So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,

so much is in bud.

~Denise Levertov


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Untitled



The garden is rich with diversity
With plants of a hundred families
In the space between the trees
With all the colours and fragrances.
Basil, mint and lavender,
God keep my remembrance pure,
Raspberry, Apple, Rose,
God fill my heart with love,
Dill, anise, tansy,
Holy winds blow in me.
Rhododendron, zinnia,
May my prayer be beautiful
May my remembrance O God
Be as incense to thee
In the sacred grove of eternity
As I smell and remember
The ancient forest of earth.

~Chippewa Song


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Rushing at times like flames



::today
sunrise : 6:28am
sunset : 6:13pm
day length : 11h 44m
moonset: 7:35 am
moonrise : 9:21 pm
moonphase: Waxing crescent 2 days
.....................................

Rushing at times like flames

Rushing at times
like flames through our bodies-
as if they were still woven with the beginning
of the stars.

How slowly we flash up in clarity-

Oh, after how many light years have our hands
folded in supplication-
our knees bent-
and our souls opened
in thanks?

~Nelly Sachs (tr. by Ruth and Matthew Mead)



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Monday, November 22, 2004

In The Garden VIII: Later Autumn Song



::today
sunrise : 7:10am
sunset : 4:41pm
day length : 9h 32m
moonset: 2:51 am
moonrise : 2:40 pm
moonphase: Waxing gibbous 10 days
.....................................

In The Garden VIII: Later Autumn Song

This is the year's despair: some wind last night
Utter'd too soon the irrevocable word,
And the leaves heard it, and the low clouds heard;
So a wan morning dawn'd of sterile light;
Flowers droop'd, or show'd a startled face and white;
The cattle cower'd, and one disconsolate bird
Chirp'd a weak note; last came this mist and blurr'd
The hills, and fed upon the fields like blight.
Ah, why so swift despair! There yet will be
Warm noons, the honey'd leavings of the year,
Hours of rich musing, ripest autumn's core,
And late-heap'd fruit, and falling hedge-berry,
Blossoms in cottage-crofts, and yet, once more,
A song, not less than June's, fervent and clear.


~Edward Dowden



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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Fall Song



::today
sunrise : 7:26am
sunset : 6:24pm
day length : 10h 57m
moonrise: 11:47 am
moonset : 8:46 pm
moonphase: Waxing crescent 3 days
.....................................

Fall Song

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.





~Mary Oliver



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