Earth Day

Jane Yolen
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud,
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle,
Skin and bone.
And just as I
Need every bit
Of me to make
My body fit,
So Earth needs
Grass and stone and tree
And things that grow here
That’s why we
Celebrate this day.
That’s why across
The world we say:
As long as life,
As dear, as free,
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 1

Rainer Maria Rilke

Breath, you invisible poem!
Pure, continuous exchange
with all that is, flow and counter-flow
where rhythmically I come to be.

Each time a single wave occurs
in a sea I discover I am.
You, innermost of oceans,
you, infinitude of space.

How many far places were once
within me. Some winds
are like my own child.

When I breathe them now, do they know me again?
Air, you silken surround,
completion and seed of my words.

The Soul of the House is the Fire

Guttormur J. Guttormsson (Translated by Sigurdur Wopnford)

The soul of the house is the fire
and the flame on the wick of the lamp.
With any abuse of this treasure
the home becomes dark and damp.
The windows are blackened and grimy
and shadows descend on the room.
Outside, the moon is shining;
inside, there is darkness and gloom.

If away from the flame and the fire
the soul of the house goes astray,
Not be stopped nor extinguished,
it soon will be burning away.
The fire and the home then merge,
becoming a single soul.
Blindly to burn to ashes
and dying, completes its role.

The soul of the house is the fire
and the flame of the lamp in its place.
It sinks to the earth with a shudder
and finally fades into space.
Is the soul then immortal in nature,
revealed to be honest and true?
There is always a fire that is burning
that dies and is kindled anew.

A Peach

Ann DeFrange

If you didn’t believe in God, my friend Kathryn said, it would take only a peach to change your mind.

Then she crouched under a low limb, stretched her arm up along the trunk, and gave a gentle tug so that a round, fuzzy, theological argument fell into her hand.

We were… pretending to work really hard picking our own peaches, an illusiondestroyed by the peach juice running down our chins and elbows.

The fact is, a peach is indeed a potential proof of divinity. A peach looks beautiful; whoever colored peaches also designed sunsets. It smells enticing, it sanctifies your mouth like heaven. It feels good [with its] peach fuzz….

The only sense it doesn’t satisfy is sound, but maybe I wasn’t listening hard enough.

Tis a Fearful Thing

Yehuda HaLevi

Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.

A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –

to be,
And oh, to lose.

A thing for fools, this,

And a holy thing,

a holy thing
to love.

For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.

‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.

Isaiah 55


Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.


Langston Hughes

I am so tired of waiting,
Aren't you,
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?
Let us take a knife
And cut the world in two -
And see what worms are eating
At the rind.

Confident, from Poems to Welcome Spring

Alice Walker ©2015


A world
Will start
After this one
I vow to spend
My Saturdays
Getting over myself
And abandoning
Projections, violations of spirit (mine and
Everyone else’s)
Prejudices and misrepresentations
Of all kinds.
A new world
Is coming
But it will not be this same one
Somewhat improved.
After devastation
Will not be troubled again
For many eternities.
According to prophecy
Even humans will know peace
For a thousand years
At least.
We will not be ruled
By twin towers
Ivory or otherwise
Making love to death
Generation after generation.
The rule of the double phallus
Will be over
For quite a while.
Encourage the light
That best supports
Your vision
For the whole.
Time is almost up
For us.
Don’t stay asleep.
Find that spot of grass
And soil you’ve always
Stay wide awake: do your share
Of kneeling and kissing.

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Adam Zagajewski

Try to praise the mutilated world.

Remember June's long days,

and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.

The nettles that methodically overgrow

the abandoned homesteads of exiles.

You must praise the mutilated world.

You watched the stylish yachts and ships;

one of them had a long trip ahead of it,

while salty oblivion awaited others.

You've seen the refugees going nowhere,

you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.

You should praise the mutilated world.

Remember the moments when we were together

in a white room and the curtain fluttered.

Return in thought to the concert where music flared.

You gathered acorns in the park in autumn

and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.

Praise the mutilated world

and the gray feather a thrush lost,

and the gentle light that strays and vanishes

and returns.

For Calling The Spirit Back From Wandering The Earth In Its Human Feet

Joy Harjo

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the Earth gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back.

Acknowledge this Earth who has cared for you since you were a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the guardians who have known you before time, who will be there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there without time.

Let the Earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds, and animal people who accompany you.

Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them.

Don’t worry.

The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises, interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few years, a hundred, a thousand, or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets.

When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders, your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our direction.

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases of shame, judgement, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return. Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no place else to go.

Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way through the dark.


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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative