Western North Carolina Woman

love poem to earth
by G. Leigh Wilkerson (commissioned by Jeanie Martin, Asheville, NC)


A gray titmouse is perched on my window sill not an armlength away.
He eyes me occasionally, crest going up and down. I'm so close I can see
the faint russet blush on his sides, the blackest eye with perfect ebony eyeliner.
I can see that his flight feathers scissor over each other in the back, the left over the right.
These feathers are patterned like the ridges in worn rock,
embossed like the age rings of an huge tree.

'The shamans told us that the roots of all living things are tied together
and when a great tree is felled, a star falls from the sky.'

This tiny creature, flight itself created of feather and bones so light wind will lift them,
the lightness in him, is the lightness in me, and if he is lost, that light thread pulls out of my soul.


Beautiful earth who birthed us all , who birthed mountains and herons, chickadees and tigers, lizards and koala bears, ostriches and field mice, giraffes and sea turtles,
you have given me the miracle of recognition: the facets of your soul shine in each
creature, each tree, each wave, each breeze, each beat of my heart is turn of your face.
My heart is your heart is your rivers, my lungs, your lungs, your forests,
my eyes your colors, each bright feather on an indigo bunting, each lantern of jewel weed
is a thread running into the other, there is no separating my words from the smooth riverstones,
from the flight feathers of a titmouse. One does not exist without the other.


Dark mother, the shamans have told us, you will not tolerate greed or carelessness.
The inattentive deer calls out to the wolf, 'Come, we are one.'
The beloved answers with burning eyes.
And this is not cruelty, but balance.
Should the owl take more than what is needed of Autumn's soft brown mice, Spring will find tiny blue iris sprouting between the flutes of owl bones.
And this is not cruelty, but balance.

Should we stoop to unravel the ball-gown of God,
and she turn her burning eyes to us, in her face
there is no unkindness.
And this is not cruelty, but balance.

Mother if it is your will, take this cup from us,
that for once we need not lose to finally learn
the deep soil says to all, 'come, we are one.'


Great mother, lead us anew, show us again the way of love,
that is the jet black eye of the titmouse on a windowsill,
threaded through the ink black stripe of a tiger,
knotted into a perfect ebony stone in the river
shining in the raven dark pupil of god's eye,
that is our humanity not grasping, but awake.

(Quote from: Gaia's Hidden Life: The unseen intelligence of nature. Compiled by S. Nicholson and B. Rosen, 1992.)

Western North Carolina Woman Magazine
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Celebrating the Spirit of Place in Western North Carolina