…I drink a long time.
It tastes like stone, leaves, fire...
From “At Blackwater Pond” by Mary Oliver, 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.
Water in Us I was carried by a water lily to an island that seemed like the centre of all creation birds fishing the restorative gurgling of babbling brooks rain, pouring over me like a prayer, soaking me with joy water holding my kayak afloat, water from a hose rescuing garden plants on days of extreme the coolness of water droplets as the kayak paddles Chain Lakes on a 35 degree afternoon… heat, icy cold water rushing down from mountaintop to numb my feet the old woman wheedles to be taken to the beach. She swims, majestic, her arms like a prow, Joyous Water. Such relief that some rain came at last, after more weeks of drought than I have ever seen. Loons on the lake at dusk, we watch them, listen Rain water washing smoke from the air, cleansing one yet carrying ash into our rivers -poison Water: sea, crystal clear bobbing salty wonderfulness, a miracle after the fire. Water: ice liquefied, hot bodies in a glacial water- fall: miraculous the drops of cold water splashing and bursting on the ground while thunder cracks the sky and my son dances under the clouds, rain cooling our faces. bare feet in the cold water at the edge of the Bow River swimming in silky black lake, the island a little further than it looked in May and September being alone with water in my daily swim… so beautiful… such silence… just me and the water… A source of relief and joy - jumping into lakes and letting the cool waters embrace me. Floating in the water and looking up at the sky. silvery water evening swim hot and lazy afternoons beside the lake, punctuated with blessed dips and swims… finally with our children I rejoice in receiving the fresh rain that fills my rain barrel. The slow moving river brings relaxation and refreshment Salt water, drawn by the moon and the wind. Our lives guided by her movements.