Sunday, April 25, 2010

Earth Day poem


Well! The weekend is almost over but Earth Day was two days ago on Thursday, April 22, so here is a poem on that theme. I stumbled upon it because of a link posted by a friend in a comment on a previous 'poem for the weeekend' post. This one is called "Earth Song" and is actually a part of a larger poem called "Hamatreya" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Earth Song
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

...Hear what the Earth says:--
'Mine and yours;
Mine, not yours, Earth endures;
Stars abide--
Shine down in the old sea;
Old are the shores;
But where are old men?
I who have seen much,
Such have I never seen.
'The lawyer's deed
Ran sure,
In tail,
To them, and to their heirs
Who shall succeed,
Without fail,
Forevermore.

'Here is the land,
Shaggy with wood,
With its old valley,
Mound and flood.
"But the heritors?--
Fled like the flood's foam.
The lawyer, and the laws,
And the kingdom,
Clean swept herefrom.

'They called me theirs,
Who so controlled me;
Yet every one
Wished to stay, and is gone,
How am I theirs,
If they cannot hold me,
But I hold them?'
When I heard the Earth-song,
I was no longer brave;
My avarice cooled
Like lust in the chill of the grave.
This is why I love poems - they have a whole lot of meaning packed into them. Here are four short verses which simultaneously remind us of our mortality and in comparison to the scale of a human life, the near perpetuity of Earth. It reminds us of the real nature of our relationship to our planet (How am I theirs, if they cannot hold me?). It ends on a note which I think is the right message for Earth Day - "Cool thy avarice". I won't harp on. Read it and meditate on it. The full poem "Hamatreya" is here.

[Image: Photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft at a distance of about 45,000 kilometres (28,000 mi). Popularly known as "The Blue Marble"]

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1 comment:

SP said...

Hi! Lovely poem, thanks! Previous one was good too :)

Shilpa