Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Lost Art of Listening to the Land

In Yellowstone Park, by Frans de Waal

White Buffalo Woman holds a sacred white calf
in her arms.
See their tears flowing, mingling,
with red blood and rain from Mother Earth,
cascading down the mountain slopes,
bouncing off cliff faces, that wear
the eyes of the ancestors,
stoic, resigned to our unceasing folly,
our refusal to wake up, to see
what is plainly before us.
Mighty river roaring through the gorge
storms the mountain pass,
trees waving their arms in distress,
Mother Wind battering the earth
with pounding rain,
a furious housecleaning,
trying to rid herself of parasites and vermin
clinging to her skin.

There is a thin keening in the wildwoods,
cries of the young and their dams,
all hungry and ever in search of a home
away from the Two-Leggeds
who stalk them to the end of their lives, 
walking ghosts with no eyes
and small, unawakened hearts.

Every inch of this earth is alive, and beautiful.
Every inch of this earth is alive, and suffering.

The pale ones wander the earth
in search of their vanished spirits.
Who will call their souls back into their bodies?

The blood of the fallen trees is on the land,
which is grieving bitterly.
The stones that receive their blood
hold strong healing for ones who know they are ill.
Hold one in your hand.
Feel, and listen, for the spirit in the stone,
the ancient memory it holds.
It will speak to you
in the language of mountains and rivers,
tell you of long-gone times upon the land,
when buffalo coloured the landscape brown
and then, so bitterly, red,
and then were gone.

The stones, the land, remembers.
Listen, for all this earth has to teach us
about being alive.

This poem was inspired by my wild ride through the mountain passes in storm, this past weekend, the faces I saw in the cliffs, the roaring rivers and waterfalls, and by reading  Tim Lilburn's wonderful Ghost Song while I was at Chris's. The way he writes about the land, and nature, just blows my mind. My poem is in response to all that reading his poem drew forth in me.


  1. Beautifully sad. I choke my tears because if I start crying, I may not stop. You have a gift for this type of poetry that screams out what mother earth is unable to speak. Thank you Sherry.

  2. this is why the wolf howls and why all who have a voice must also howl

    gracias mi amiga

  3. Wow, Sherry-what a poem, what a journey into the wild interior of our hearts~ I am touched!

  4. This is very uplifting to read Sherry ~ The refrain and contrasts in these lines specially:

    Every inch of this earth is alive, and beautiful.
    Every inch of this earth is alive, and suffering.

    Take care ~

  5. Agh--Sherry-- my computer is not working for blogger lately due to a reboot. This is a powerful call to action, or to listening, which is harder than action. Thanks. k.

  6. damn. truth is so hard, Sherry ~

  7. And indeed we all need to the earth as you do, Sherry.


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!