And on those hot afternoons in July,
when my father was out on the tractor
cultivating rows of corn, my mother
would send us out with a Mason jar
filled with ice and water, a dish towel
wrapped around it for insulation.
Like a rocket launched to an orbiting
planet, we would cut across the fields
in a trajectory calculated to intercept— or, perhaps, even—surprise him
in his absorption with the row and the
turning always over earth beneath the blade.
He would look up and see us, throttle
down, stop, and step from the tractor
with the grace of a cowboy dismounting
his horse, and receive gratefully the jar
of water, ice cubes now melted into tiny
shards, drinking it down in a single gulp,
while we watched, mission accomplished.
Carrying Water to the Field by Joyce Sutphen
to live fearlessly…
to hold the heavens in your heart
and to give it all away…
to pray and to listen to the God in your mouth
to the people who are thirsty
to the shouting of pain,
You are really very brave
to have died and come from the womb
as tender and kind, as Christ holding the bread between thin bones of resurrection,
as empty and waiting
for moonlight to breathe open a new door,
You are really very brave
to cherish the loss,
to celebrate the union
to break free…
to live for eternity
while pouring from the water jugs,
while living for only the Beloved…
Rev. Donna Knutson
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry
night has turned to day
here I stand amazed
at my own rebirth
dazed and a bit confused
eyes blinking in the morning sun
attempting to adjust
I am completely changed
from my life to death
back to life experience
more than a bit claustrophobic
due to the burial, no doubt
I am no longer sure
if my bank account is active
or my passport still relevant
how will I go on here in the world now?
what will my friends and family do with this who-is-now me?
they who have done with grief
and moved along with life in-between
I am, for sure, no longer the way I used to be
I have, for sure, experienced things they will never understand
I have flown with angels
and seen what lies beyond the Milky Way
I have, for sure, left my fear behind me in that fresh, unmarked grave
I know, for sure, there will be no turning back,
no compromise of this wild and exquisite thing beating within me
this life of mine is mine
this heartbeats miracle will be never forgotten gift
I can only take this first step
away from this boneyard
named and dated final markers
a place I no longer belong
I can only start close in
in silent revelry walking
along this uncharted path
which will only be revealed by my footsteps
I discard my grave clothes
and turn to see the colors of my new self shining
I take a small shaky step
and find the ground holds my weight
I breathe deep
inhale – exhale
soon I will attempt to speak
with my new voice
there is a song being written
which must be sung
a beauty seeking to burst
which will no longer be denied
a love now known
which will never be unknown
I raise my hands and kiss the sky
I bow my knees and kiss the ground
I rise and begin the journey
through the narrow gate
that leads home to LIFE