Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This didn't just start....

I'm working with an online group each week and we start our sessions with a poetry reading. One of the goals of the group is how we bring back nature/the environment into our daily lives and from a counseling standpoint--how we use it as a therapeutic tool. One of the questions this group has asked is whether or not the current disconnect that so many people have with nature and the environment in part leads to many mental health issues like anxiety or depression.

I stumbled upon the following poem, "As it was written" by Anne Sexton. What struck me when I read the first stanza......and she talks about the Earth becoming a latrine--was the fact that this poem was written prior to 1974. I didn't have the exact date of this poem, but since she died in 1974--obviously it was written before this.

So for all our angst about global warming--this made me aware that this problem did not just creep up out of nowhere in the last 10 years--it was obvious to Anne Sexton more than 30 years ago!

The other line that made me stand up (guiltily) was

All in all I’d say,

the world is strangling

And I, in my bed each night,

listen to my twenty shoes

converse about it.

The visual of my closet and all my shoes and all my stuff talking amongst themselves--while never recognizing that it is the constant consumption while ignoring the environmental impact that has set up the situation where we're turning Earth into a latrine. I am as guilty as anyone and yet, ready to clean up the mess.

See the Poem below (reprinted without official permission).

As it was written,

Anne Sexton (1928-1974)

Earth, Earth
riding your merry-go-round
toward extinction.
right to the roots,
thickening the oceans like gravy
festering in your caves
you are becoming a latrine.

Your trees are twisted chairs.
Your flowers moan at their mirrors
and cry for a sun that doesn’t wear a mask
Your clouds wear white,
trying to become nuns
and say novenas to the sky.
The sky is yellow with it’s jaundice
And its veins spill into the rivers
where the fish kneel down
to swallow hair and goat’s eyes.

All in all I’d say,
the world is strangling
And I, in my bed each night,
listen to my twenty shoes
converse about it.
And the moon,
under it’s dark hood
falls out of the sky each night
with it’s hungry red mouth
to suck at my scars.

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