… And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
From “What We Need is Here” by Wendell Berry, which inspired the following poem.
A significant part of the Earth Jam 2021 Opening Ceremony was a deep dive into the four elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. We did this by resting in four poems — one for each element. After the reading of each element-specific poem the participants were invited to notice personal impressions, memories or experiences associated with that element. They were invited to share a short sample of those in the chat.
As these offerings were read — there was an energy, a power which comes from naming the truth of what we are experiencing as we find ourselves in a world we don’t recognize — marked by heat, fire, vulnerability and uncertainty. And also, paradoxically, at the same time, a world we know and love, full of sustaining beauty of immeasurable kinds.
Tonya Lailey took the phrases and descriptions that were shared and created four “cento” (latin for “patchwork” or “collage”) poems.
Through these poems we have gathered some of the mystery, beauty, joy, fear and grief that permeates our current experience of Earth, Air, Water and Fire.
Earth in Us Dirt under my fingernails as I prepare to plant sunflowers, skies of orange little lush deck gardens restore me, restore me fantastic fungi forest Earth: moss pungent, alive! the smell of green walking, walking, feeling the roots under my feet… solid, moving, shifting eroding banks of Red Deer River digging up lawn, chunk by chunk, to expose earth for new planting kneeling down and really examining something closely in the dirt, with my toddler harvesting pines to create a place of healing, hiking, stretching out in the grass, driving through devastated forests, pouring coffee grounds into my garden hiking by Takakkaw Falls, a new ecosystem every 200 paces, the island seemed like the centre of all creation, knees on the ground, digging in my garden, skies of orange a terrible beauty paddling a canoe in Waterton National Park on two beautiful sunny days, in midst of surrounding mountains walking along a winding path of majestic hoodoos by the Milk River pulling the wine red beets from the moist earth in my garden, a ruby gem to delight all my senses looking out over Writing-on-Stone on a quiet morning.