Roots in Poetry

Roots in Poetry is a collection of poems which remind me of finding my roots, of the rivers of life, and the undefinable opportunity of the darkness.

From the Emerald Tablet:

Balinas mentions the engraving on the table in the hand of Hermes, which says:

  1. Truth! Certainty! That in which there is no doubt!
  2. That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one.
  3. As all things were from one.
  4. Its father is the Sun and its mother the Moon.
  5. The Earth carried it in her belly, and the Wind nourished it in her belly,
  6. as Earth which shall become Fire. 7a) Feed the Earth from that which is subtle, with the greatest power.
  7. It ascends from the earth to the heaven and becomes ruler over that which is above and that which is below.
  8. And I have already explained the meaning of the whole of this in two of these books of mine.

The Great Darkness

Is already right here:

everything we can’t know or control,

everything too compressed to expand,

too closed to be open,

too mysterious to penetrate

with any understanding —

just like heat and cold

battling for control:

one trying to expand,

the other to contract.

Like the play of emotions

flashing across our faces

at a time of surprise or shock,

it is existing

on the surface of a larger

TOHU, a deeper chaos that

is inside the seed of the seed

of the seed of existence.

There is so much space,

so much flow there

that the Great Dark itself

only dances on its waves.

Neil Douglas-Klotz, The Genesis Meditations, pp. 126-127

To all that is brief and fragile
Superficial, unstable,
To all that lacks foundation
Argument or principles,
To all that is light,
Fleeting, changing, finite
To smoke spirals,
Wand roses,
To sea foam
And mists of oblivion . . . .
To all that is light in weight
For itinerants
On this transient earth
Somber, raving,
With transitory words
And vaporous bubbly wines
I toast in breakable glasses

Maria Eugenia Baz Ferreira

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome,
Dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
May your rivers flow without end,
Meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells,
Past temples and castles and poets’ towers Into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl,
Through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock,
Blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone,
And down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm
Where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, Where deer walk across the white sand beaches,
Where storms come and go As lightning clangs upon the high crags,
Where something strange and more beautiful And more full of wonder than your deepest dreams Waits for you –
Beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.

Edward Abbey

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under the sun:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill and a time to heal . . .
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance . . .
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to lose and a time to seek . . .
A time to rend and a time to sew;
A time to keep silent and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Kali, be with us.

Violence, destruction, receive our homage.

Help us to bring darkness into the light,

To lift out the pain, the anger,

Where it can be seen for what it is—

The balance-wheel for our vulnerable, aching love.

Within the act of creation,

Crude power that forges a balance

Between hate and love.

Help us to be the always hopeful

Gardeners of the spirit

Who know that without darkness

Nothing comes to birth

As without light

Nothing flowers.

Bear the Roots in Mind,

You, the dark one, Kali,

Awesome power.

May Sarton

Earth mother, star mother,
You who are called by a thousand names,
May all remember
we are cells in your body
and dance together.
You are the grain
and the loaf
That sustains us each day,
And as you are patient
with our struggles to learn
So shall we be patient
with ourselves and each other.
We are radiant light
and sacred dark
–the balance—
You are the embrace that heartens
And the freedom beyond fear
Within you we are born
We grow, live , and die–
You bring us around the circle
to rebirth,
Within us you dance


Tao Te Ching

Verse 18

When the greatness of Tao is present

Action arises from one’s own heart

When the greatness of Tao is absent

Action comes from the rules

Of “kindness” and “justice”

If you need rules to be kind and just,

If you act virtuous,

That is a sure sign that virtue is absent

Thus we see the great hypocrisy

Only when the family loses its harmony

Do we hear of “dutiful sons”

Only when the state is in chaos

Do we hear of “loyal ministers”

Jonathan Star, translator

How shall the might river
Reach the tiny seed?
See it rise silently
To the sun’s yearning,
Sail from a winter’s cloud
Flake after silent flake
Piling up layer upon layer
Until the thaw of spring
To meet the seedling’s need.

Make tender, Lord, my heart:
Release through gentleness
Thine own tremendous power
Hid in the snowflakes’ art.

Antoinette Adam

The Negro Speaks Of Rivers

I’ve known rivers:

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the

flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy

bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:

Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Langston Hughes

Roots in Poetry is a collection of poems assembled for students.

To find my books, begin with my Amazon Author Page.

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