Entering the Temple of Gratitude
I know you have been suckling
the Milk of Life
at Gaia’s breasts
from her tender generous nipples
your entire life
since before the moment
you first placed naked feet upon her body
What I want to know
is if you know of this nursing
if you feel and taste this moistness upon your lips
if you are consciously grateful
for these gifts you receive
of skin and bone and flesh
that you dress with stories
of identity purpose and meaning…
And I want to know too
if you even realize
the telling of these stories to yourself
this choosing of clothing for your soul and spirit
for who you will be as you navigate your life
for how you will recognize find and call yourself—
these narrations are the most potent powers of creation you possess
So if you would come into this creativity consciously and fully
do so with the sacred vulnerability
of a trembling initiate entering the Temple of Gratitude
who knows they will never again be the same
looks into the Pool of Remembering anyway
seeing themselves their very being their presence
woven of moss and bark scale fur feather and fin
a-swirl within the primal womb of imagination
along with the first ancestors
of fire and water and air and soil
starlight and darkness too
now knows all beings as family
and savors once again
— Larry Glover
What story (stories) are you living in service to/of?
Or perhaps, what stories are living you?
I don’t even know what to say about this poem that will not launch me into some long rave. So I will leave it to speak for itself, such as it is. And as with all of my poems, it is of course written to my own soul as much as to any others. Such are the questions I live with, that wake me in the night and have me struggling and playing for hours with a word here or there… all in conversation with my own spirit and soul.
Enjoy! Namaste. — Larry
We are showered every day with the gifts of the Earth, gifts we have neither earned nor paid for: air to breathe, nurturing rain, black soil, berries and honeybees, the tree that became this page, a bag of rice and the exuberance of a field of goldenrod and asters at full bloom.
Though the Earth provides us with all that we need, we have created a consumption-driven economy that asks, “What more can we take from the Earth?” and almost never “What does the Earth ask of us in return?”
The premise of Earth asking something of me—of me!—makes my heart swell. I celebrate the implicit recognition of the Earth’s animacy, that the living planet has the capacity to ask something of us and that we have the capacity to respond. We are not passive recipients of her gifts, but active participants in her well-being. We are honored by the request. It lets us know that we belong.
For much of human’s time on the planet, before the great delusion, we lived in cultures that understood the covenant of reciprocity, that for the Earth to stay in balance, for the gifts to continue to flow, we must give back in equal measure for what we take. — Returning the Gift, Robin Wall Kimmerer
And for any who might care to dive deeper into the science and ecology of the spirit of this poem, here’s an excellent article by David Quammen in the Atlantic. It’s adapted from his new book, The Tangled Tree of Life: A Radical New History of Life.
The Revolution That Rewrote Life’s History
“It complicates our sense of human individuality even more. So does the recognition that each of us contains, as a necessity for health and digestion and other aspects of our physiology, some dozens of trillions of bacterial cells, representing thousands of different bacterial “species.” And so does the realization that within every one of our human cells reside captured bacteria, long since transmogrified into mitochondria, without which we couldn’t exist.”
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