Whitman said the moth and fish eggs are in their place
and I, too, am in mine–this earth, with all
God’s earthly things
Why should I not be? Why should no-place be
better than the place God placed me?
And if it was, how could I belong there?
I, being made of soil?
Am I not a son of Adam?
The seas and rivers are here! Doing their ordained work
as the creatures who live near or in them
They course and flow in their endless changing currents
moving and shaping the lands and beaches
slowly from here to there like
furniture in a colossal room
A home for numberless fish and mammals
crustaceans and birds:
the egret and lonely albatross
The mayim are terrestrial, corporeal, performing
their earthly function heavily
tugged by lunar sways and the forces
of heat and cold, light and dark
As they should be! I would have it no other way!
There are waters below and waters above
mayim and shamayim
Trading in a constant airy cycle their waters;
the mayim dissipate and become shamayim
Floating clouds, crowns to mountains thrust up
and crumbling in their time of ages and eons
home to eagles who fish the rivers
and bighorn sheep who live on the grasses
at home in their heavens
They turn and give themselves back to the mayim
pouring themselves onto the ground to
search for the ocean
That is their place! This is their vocation!
I heard a fool once, a know-nothing,
a man who didn’t read books
His whole system was predicated on
escaping all of this for some Platonic
his heaven was always somewhere else
which is why he didn’t care about God’s will on earth
And on the Easter celebration of the risen body of the Lord
after eating the bread and wine,
all he could think to say was “I wanna go.”
Well, he can go, sooner than later. But I wanna stay.
When I die, bury me in it or
burn me up and scatter me to it
And if I have to leave,
I want to come back and put my feet in the waters
and breathe in the winds
I want to climb the mountains into the clouds
and walk barefoot
through the grasslands
I want to watch the kingfisher dive
and see the salmon leap over the rocks
Because this is my place
and I belong here!