March 12th, 2012

Heart Happy - Read a poem to a tree -

Thanks to cathy_edgett for posting this:

It might be clear how much I love trees, how much I need them.

I am also loving Barbara Brown Taylor's wonderful book, An Alter in the World.

In it, she suggests reading a poem to a tree, preferably a tree poem, possibly one by Wendell Berry from A Timbered Choir.

Following is an excerpt from a chapter called "The Practice of Pronouncing Blessings".

She says the practice of pronouncing a few blessings "will teach you what you want to know".

Perhaps you feel you know enough. Perhaps you are completely content. I think, even so, this practice, might open roads within.

Barbara Brown Taylor:

“Start with anything you like. Even a stick lying on the ground will do. The first thing to do is to pay attention to it. Did you make the stick? No, you did not. The stick has its own story. If you have the time to figure out what kind of tree it came from, that would be a start to showing the stick some respect. It is only “a stick” in the same way that you are a “human,” after all. There is more to both of you than that. Is it on the ground because it is old or because it suffered mishap? Has it been lying there for a long time or did it just land? Is it fat enough for you to see its growth rings?

If you look at the stick long enough, you are bound to begin making it a character in your own story. It will begin to remind you of someone you know, or a piece of furniture you once saw in a craft co-op. There is nothing wrong with these associations, except that they take you away from the stick and back to yourself. To pronounce a blessing on something, it is important to see it as it is. What purpose did this stick serve? Did a bird sit on it? Did it bear leaves that sheltered the ground from the hottest summer sun?

At the very least it participated in the deep mystery of drawing water from the ground, defying the law of gravity to deliver moisture to its leaves. How does a stick do that, especially one this size? Smell it. Is the scent of sap still there? This is no less than the artery of a tree that you are holding in your hand. Its tissue has come from the sun and from the earth. Put it back where you found it and it will turn back into earth again. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes. Will you say a blessing first?

She continues: “The key to blessing things is to receive their blessing.” Offer. Receive.

Heart Happy - Read a poem to a tree -

Kabir – Within this earthen vessel

Within this earthen vessel
by Kabir
English version by Rabindranath Tagore

Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves, and within it is the Creator:
Within this vessel are the seven oceans and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within;
And within this vessel the Eternal soundeth, and the spring wells up.
Kabir says: “Listen to me, my Friend! My beloved Lord is within.”

Poetry Chaikhana Blog » Kabir – Within this earthen vessel