National Poetry Month: Writing Wild, Day 14

Oren Lyons calls Braiding Sweetgrass “instructive poetry.” One of the challenges of this project has been deciding on a poetic form that fits well with an author’s writing. Kimmerer is such a lyrical and evocative writer, I decided to try and capture the main tenets of her work in found haiku and tanka(ish–the syllable count isn’t always exact). These words appear in Kimmerer’s essay, “Returning the Gift.

“Returning the Gift”

The Earth Calls Us to Gratitude

Recognize the gift
give back in equal measure
practice contentment

The Earth Asks that We Pay Attention

Listen to the Earth
be open and attentive
notice the beauty

but also notice the wounds
attention becomes intention

Recognize the Personhood of All Beings

We share the planet
non-human persons, neighbors
with rights and intentions

with their own ways of being
more the same than different

The Earth Asks Us to Change

Everything changes
Allosaurus becomes a warbler
singing from the trees

we can learn from global mistakes
we need to change ourselves

The Earth Calls Us to Reciprocity

What is our gift?
to reciprocate Earth’s gifts
practice reverence

heal the damage we have done
give our gifts on behalf of life

Previous Writing Wild posts:

Day 1: Dorothy Wordsworth
Day 2: Susan Fenimore Cooper
Day 3: Gene Stratton-Porter
Day 4: Mary Austin
Day 5: Vita Sackville-West
Day 6: Nan Shepherd
Day 7: Rachel Carson
Day 8: Mary Oliver
Day 9: Carolyn Merchant
Day 10: Annie Dillard
Day 11: Gretel Ehrlich
Day 12: Leslie Marmon Silko
Day 13: Diane Ackerman