Thursday, April 10, 2014

Caring for all my relations

Spring in Minnesota is something to celebrate. An overheated, perpetually ice free world, not so much. In yesterday's mail I received my copy of a recently published book I had ordered, So Little Time, Words and Images for a World in Climate Crisis. It combines poetry and photography to help us care about what we are doing to ourselves and our fellow inhabitants of earth, our only home. The publisher's web site has this quotation: "In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught."—Baba Dioum  This sentiment echoes the perspective in Original Green that helped convince me sustainability is about what values we hold and honor as much as or more than it is about the technology we use. In a similar vein, Robin Wall Kimmerer, in Braiding Sweetgrass, encourages us to consider reciprocity as a healthier way to engage the earth and our fellow creatures. To honor the upcoming 34th anniversary of 1970's first Earth Day, My Minnesota today offers a brief interlude in our National Poetry month line up of Minnesota poets so we an share the first stanza of a poem from So Little Time. The poem was written in Gaelic by Seán Ó Riordáin and translated by Greg Delanty. If you see fit to get a copy of So Little Time, I think you'll enjoy it and learn from it.

water levels rise as snow and ice melts
water levels rise as snow and ice melts     © harrington

Seán Ó Riordáin

Apathy Is Out

There's not a fly, moth, bee,
man, or woman created by God
whose welfare's not our responsibility;
to ignore their predicament
isn't on. There's not
a madman in the Valley of the Mad
who we shouldn't sit with
and keep company, since
he's sick in the head
on our behalf.
That stanza provides a wonderful segue to Minnesotan Tom Hennen's poem from County Lines, Animal of the Earth

Tom Hennen

Animal of the Earth

For the first time I understand
I'm an animal
Warm breath.
Moving shaggy arms
To encircle another.
Looked at
By beasts
That fly
Walk with four feet down
On tiny scales that shine like flecks of spring.
The only animal
That wants to write a book
That moves so uncertainly through the cold
That spends so much time
Gazing at the sky
That listens for itself
Among the rustling sounds.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.