This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance
               -T.S. Eliot, “Ash Wednesday”

The land thirsts.
The earth cracks open like old skin
Like hands of the farmer, bleeding
As he digs through stones that surface
From the hardened clay.
The sky has turned to flame.
Lungs ache breathing the triple digit air.
Attempts to bring water up from deep aquifers
Deplete the natural wells.
Star thistle, goat’s weed, and poison oak
Flourish in aridity;
The wilderness will not become a garden this year.
Green is a luxury earth cannot afford.

Here in the dark container of night I sit in artificial light, working out a plan for sprinkling systems although at this point in the devastation what power or intelligence do I have? Nature will not submit to being fixed. Earth will not be moved. The man-made pipes crack and break in the farmer’s bleeding hands. He sits in the rocks and hits at the stony ground. I watch him, a man from the caves wielding the tool of inadequacy. Neither he nor the world can weep.

Here among these rocks in the darkness of my soul I sit remembering. Others have visited this place where gardens become desert and life’s bones lie scattered. They have heard the locusts’ song.

Who can surrender to this?
Who can surrender?
Because it won’t be worked.
Our strength is puny here.
Mind fails.
Heart slows or beats too fast, and neither matter
because nothing can be done.
It is the end of doing.
Surrender is a must. But who can?

How much must be lost before we let it go?


Anonymous said…
Just found this and like it a lot. Especially like that you go from short verse lines to poetic expression in paragraph form (something my teacher in the poetry retreat does too and recommends—"Don't be a slave to the right margin!").
On a personal note, I hope the drought breaks soon and earth's broken skin is healed.

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