Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nature's Pupil


I am just a walker
Through the wild forests and meadows still left preserved
In places we’ve named
Michigan, Vermont, Colorado, Ohio, Tennessee
But these nature spots I find have names deeper than I know
Names I think I could speak
If I stayed here long enough
And they know me
When I stand on the edge of a hill tangled with scrub-bushes
Looking down to a flat rock like molded dough
With reeds on the edge, watered by a rare trickling stream
When I come around some corner and suddenly see
A shallow spread of March water
Slinking around the roots of trees
When I climb between tall green ferns
Up slumbering boulder’s shoulders
Slithering down drifts of last year’s leaves
All these places say to me
In voices numerous as life itself
“Here you are, at last!
We don’t need you to complete us
We don’t need to be seen by human eyes
We simply are
But you need us
You need the sight of clouds in the pines on the opposite mountaintop
You need the smell of damp earth promising life after winter snow
You need to feel beneath your hand, beneath your foot
Crumbling moss, tree bark, the bones of the earth
You need to taste water at its source, cold to ache your teeth
You need to know what we are, that we are
In order to complete your soul
You need the unartificed disorderly rhythm
The cycles and the bounty and the rarity we are
This is what you live by, and you need to know it
So at last, here you are
Sit by the roots of your sister tree
And learn.”

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