Words of WonderThe earth says - Larry Butler

The earth says
keep still
stay put & listen to the roar of silence
hold on & root deep for treasure
feel the sap rising through your bones
wait & see what happens

The river says
keep flowing
into the lochs swirling & swelling & swishing
keep floating down   down & down
falling & carving the mountains
down to the beautiful sea

The trees say
keep rooting
rooting & rising into sky –
spread out your arms to embrace everything
breathe deep   deeper with each falling leaf
gather fruit & nuts for winter

The sky says
keep looking
sniff the air & notice the small
changes moment by moment
breath by breath   cloud by cloud
watching your thoughts float by

The birds say
keep singing   sing from your heart
fly from branch to branch
stay curious   stay light   start fresh
each year with a new nest then be patient
& sit on your eggs till they hatch

The sun says
keep smiling
smile at your reflection on still water
from dawn to dusk go outside
out to play with light & shadow
in the day long dazzle leaping through thin air

The compost heap says
keep rotting
decomposing   turning   burning
digest everything that comes your way
keep returning to the earth
& the earth   returns   tenfold to you

the earth says keep still   stay put
wait & see what happens   next

by Larry Butler


In the week of this year’s Earth Day (which is set to be an eventful one!), I want to share this poem full of vibrant images and deep teachings from the earth. Written by my friend Larry from Glasgow: poet, Work That Reconnects facilitator, tai chi and qi gong teacher, long term meditator and allotment gardener (as well as many other things) – he knows about deep listening as well as responding with words.

In my holiday of the past couple of weeks, invited by the (slightly!) warmer weather, I’ve been meditating outside more often and I am reminded of the aliveness and natural resting it brings. Outside I’m aware of the movements and sounds and temperature of the air in which I rest, the growing that’s happening around me, the ancient steadiness underneath me. Somehow it makes the movements inside, both in body and in the realm of thoughts and feelings less of a big deal than when I sit in the stillness of a room, like it just blends in with the moment by moment unfolding that’s taking place. Rob Nairn often talked about our ‘content obsession’ but when sitting outside, or better yet, lying down on the earth outside, it’s just so clear that I’m tiny and brief in the scheme of things.

What a relief, and what precious teachings are all around me, if I only listen…


Image from pxhere.com