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This Is What Was Bequeathed Us

As I read this poem, I recalled: “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Embedded in the quote is: How do we care for shared places and its inhabitants so that others who follow us can enjoy Creation?

Stewardship, in all its forms, calls on us to act in ethical and considerate ways. This does not mean we cease harvesting, but we do in ways that do so in responsible ways. We return as much as we take and show our gratitude for the harvest.

Gregory Orr reminds us the Earth is a gift the beloved left. Someone left it to us and our response would be to give it to those who follow us as a sacred gift. Here, we find meaning, we live together, and we discover ways to sustain our living together. We do so when we are mindful and attentive towards others who are with us and follow. We do so when we are mindful and attentive to the Earth. A beloved bequeathed this to us and it is now our turn.

This is what was bequeathed us:

This earth the beloved left

And, leaving,

Left to us.

No other world

But this one:

Willows and the river

And the factory

With its black smokestacks.

No other shore, only this bank

On which the living gather.

No meaning but what we find here.

No purpose but what we make.

That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:

Turn me into song; sing me awake.

What is Life?

I don’t know the title of this Gregory Orr poem is so I used the opening line. This is a great question which brings up many other questions. What are the roles that we are each cast in? It is not so much the answers that are important, but the new questions and the searching, the questing that makes life what it is.

“What is life?”

When you first

Hear that question

It echoes in your skull

As if someone shouted

In an empty cave.

The same answer each time:

The resurrection of the body

Of the beloved, which is

The world.

Every poem different, but

Telling the same story.

And we’ve been gathering

Them in a book

Since writing began

And before that as songs

Or poems people memorized

And recited aloud

When someone asked: “What is life?”

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