There is nothing more innocent
than the still-unformed creature I find beneath the soil,
neither of us knowing what it will become
in the abundance of the planet.
It makes a living only by remaining still in its niche.
One day it might struggle out of its tender
pearl of blind skin
with a wing or with vision
leaving behind the transparent.
I cover it again, keep labouring,
hands in earth, myself a singular body.
Watching things grow,
a cut blade of grass knows
how to turn sharp again at the end.
The same growing must be myself,
not aware yet of what I will become
in my own fullness
inside this simple flesh.
by Linda Hogan
This poem was the gift from a friend who had read my call for new poetry from the different corners of the earth. I enjoyed finding out about Linda Hogan and her work as a novelist, essayist and environmentalist, and her Native American Chickasaw Nation roots (plus, she’s the second minority woman to become a full professor at the University of Colorado – teaching Creative Writing).
The poem immediately struck a chord with me. Not labelling or analysing the creature she comes across, the poem speaks of a living experience of connection and relatedness to it – ‘myself a singular body’. And the sense of wonder and openness to what transformation might be in store for her as there is for the creature, ‘the same growing must be myself, not aware yet of what I will become’…
In these summer days of reconnecting with the land I grew up in, not quite knowing what I have become or will become, I appreciate the chances (as well as the reminder!) to stop and wonder, to notice and relate. I came across a quote from Linda Hogan, where she said
“Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.”
What a precious way to walk this earth.