my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Monday, January 9, 2012

animal wisdom

Each of these poets recognizes the beauty of animals and the advantage they have over humans, the "superior" species. It is interesting to see how differently each communicates this message. The photos are all from National Geographic. Don't miss the video near the bottom!


Mary Carvell Bragg

When we stopped listening
they stopped talking
and we lost the wisdom
the animal were gifting us

We became drunk
with the power of language
even believed we had
all the answers

But we couldn’t learn
while we were talking
and our other half withered
like a dried up snakeskin

The animals agreed long ago
there is no point in talking to the deaf
So now through looks and body language
they speak, hoping we will finally get it


To Learn From Animal Beings
John O’Donohue

Nearer to the earth’s heart
Deeper within it’s silence
Animals know this world
In a way we never will.

We who are ever
Distanced and distracted
By the parade of bright
Windows thought opens:
Their seamless presence
Is not fractured thus.

Stranded between time
Gone and time emerging,
We manage seldom
To be where we are:
Whereas they are always
Looking out from
The here and now.

May we learn to return
And rest in the beauty
Of animal being,
Learn to lean low,
Leave our locked minds
And with freed senses
Feel the earth
Breathing with us.
May we enter
Into lightness of spirit,
And slip frequently into
The feel of the wild.

Let the clear silence
Of our animal being
Cleanse our hearts
Of corrosive words.

May we learn to walk
Upon the earth
With all their confidence
And clear-eyed stillness
So that our minds
Might be baptized
In the name of the wind
And the light of the rain.


Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 Please watch this video about Samburu Elephants 
from  National Geographic. Poetry in video!


marie-josé said...

Indeed this is a treat! Poetic photography (the wolves and the parrot being my favorite) and evocative poetry, what a gift for the new year.

Three powerful poems in their own right, and intimately connected (into that universal, cosmic spirit that we cannot ignore). Mary Bragg's lines "We lost the wisdom / the animals were gifting us" reach out toward Donohue's "Their seamless presence/ Is not fractured thus." Fracture, apparently, is a human invention. Unity is part of nature / the cosmos; and animals, with innate wisdom, accept it --an acceptance that equates respect. All this, Wendell Berry finds curative. And so should we.

maryanne said...

such a beautiful and powerful commentary to all humankind. I wasn't able to watch the video due to my pony express dial up but have no doubt it as awesome as each of the poems. Today I will respect the simplicity of nature and work on listening with all of my senses and respecting the simplistic wisdom of animals/nature...thank you Pam and Marie=)

Jenn said...

Wow, Pam, what a beautiful series of poems and photographs. The video made me cry - because elephants are so beautiful and amazing. Two Semester at Sea reflections : I had the privilege of seeing elephants on a safari in Kenya. I have a couple of pictures that I took that I am really proud of, and when I look at them, I can't believe they are mine because elephants are so amazing and I was blessed to be able to see them in their natural habitat. And, when I was abroad, I remember hearing "Americans love elephants." - in a tone of why? What's the big deal? Elephants and giraffes are my favorite African animals - I don't know how their beauty and grace can't be seen. Those people needed to read these poems. ;) Also, something funny to share, as I was reading these poems aloud, my dogs, who had been sleeping, left the room. They were about their naps, not listening to me reading about having a deeper appreciation about them. lol. And, I wanted to add that I loved the third poem (I am never up that early, ha, ha) but I love what it portrays - being still, resting your mind, and connecting to the peace around you.