Thursday, April 22, 2010

In Celebration of Earth Day

The following poem, “Prayer for the Great Family,” is by Gary Snyder and found in his collection, Turtle Island (New York: New Directions, 1974 ed.), which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1975.

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day—
and to her soil: rich, rare and sweet
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light-changing leaf
and fine root-hairs; standing still through the wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain
in our mind so be it.

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave, and aware
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
our bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep—he who wakes us—
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars—and goes yet beyond that—
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us—
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife.

so be it.
after a Mohawk prayer

[This was recited at our wedding ceremony on the Summer Solstice, June 21, 1980.]

In further celebration of Earth Day and by way of encouraging considerate and thoughtful reflection and praxis I offer this compilation of titles from a few years ago: Ecological & Environmental Worldviews: A Basic Bibliography.

Please see too The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale:

The Forum on Religion and Ecology is the largest international multi-religious project of its kind. With its conferences, publications, and website it is engaged in exploring religious worldviews, texts, and ethics in order to broaden understanding of the complex nature of current environmental concerns.


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