Ground Control Parenting – Carol Sutton Lewis

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Cultural

Thoughtful Thursday: Celebrating Earth Day

Today’s Thoughtful Thursday celebrates Earth Day with poems from three wonderful and accomplished poets: Jane Yolen, Joy Harjo, and Lucille Clifton.

In addition to being a celebrated poet, Jane Yolen (b.1939) is a science fiction and fantasy writer, editor and children’s author, whose stories use rhythm and rhyme in conjunction with elements of folklore and fantasy.

Critically acclaimed poet Joy Harjo (b.1951) is a member of the Mvskoke Nation whose heritage, feminist and social concerns have deeply influenced her poetry.

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was an African-American poet, writer, and educator from Buffalo, New York. From 1979 to 1985 she was Poet Laureate of Maryland. Clifton was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Three distinct approaches to Earth Day from three distingushed poets. Enjoy.

Earth Day

I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud,
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle,
Skin and bone.

And just as I
Need every bit
Of me to make
My body fit,
So Earth needs
Grass and stone and tree
And things that grow here
Naturally.

That’s why we
Celebrate this day.
That’s why across
The world we say:
As long as life,
As dear, as free,
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.

Jane Yolen

Remember

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember.

Joy Harjo

the earth is a living thing

is a black shambling bear
ruffling its wild back and tossing
mountains into the sea

is a black hawk circling
the burying ground circling the bones
picked clean and discarded

is a fish black blind in the belly of water
is a diamond blind in the black belly of coal

is a black and living thing
is a favorite child
of the universe
feel her rolling her hand
in its kinky hair
feel her brushing it clean

Lucille Clifton



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