Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our Home




It's been too long since my last post, but I thought I'd start the year off by quoting one of my favorite poems, "For Instance" by Denise Levertov. Somehow, she was able to capture what is, for me, the essence of our relationship with Creation.

"For Instance"

Often, it's nowhere special: maybe
a train rattling not fast or slow
from Melbourne to Sydney, and the light's fading,
we've passed that wide river remembered
from a tale about boyhood and fatal love, written
in vodka prose, clear and burning--
the light's fading and then
beside the tracks this particular
straggle of eucalyptus, an inconsequential
bit of a wood, a coppice, looks your way,
not at you, through you, through the train,
over it--gazes with branches and rags of bark
to something beyond your passing. It's not,
this shred of seeing, more beautiful
than a million others, less so than many;
you have no past here, no memories,
and you'll never set foot among these shadowy
tentative presences. Perhaps when you've left this continent
you'll never return; but it stays with you:
years later, whenever
its blurry image flicks on in your head,
it wrenches from you the old cry:
O Earth, belov├ęd Earth!
--like many another faint
constellation of landscape does, or fragment
of lichened stone, or some old shed
where you took refuge once from pelting rain
in Essex, leaning on wheel or shafts
of a dusty cart, and came out when you heard
a thrush return to song, though the rain
was not quite over; and, as you thought there'd be,
there was, in the dark quarter where frowning clouds
were still clustered, a hesitant trace
of rainbow; and across from that the expected
gleam of East Anglian afternoon light, and leaves
dripping and shining. Puddles, and the roadside weeds
washed of their dust. Earth,
that inward cry again--
Erde, du liebe ...

If, just once, every person could have an experience such as Ms. Levertov describes, I think we'd be moved to treat Mother Earth with tenderness and care, with the same lovingkindness that we'd enjoy receiving from the universe.

As we embark on a year of new beginnings and new opportunities, I pray that we can open our hearts to the beauty of our fragile planet, and that we will be moved to nurse our Mother back to health.