For Earth Day weekend, during a year when violence against the earth appears to be accelerating, we offer a montage of three texts: Wendell Berry, Rachel Carson and DP corresponding poet Jon Swan. Images are from Rebecca Clark’s calm yet deeply moving Book of Hours, released into the vast, murky weblands with characteristic generosity and grace.
First, let us listen to the voice of Wendell Berry, in a 2003 essay that still rings true today:
Next, we retrieve a favorite passage from Rachel Carson’s magnificent Edge of the Sea, a vivid reminder of what we have — already! — lost:
And finally, the voice of our corresponding poet Jon Swan, picking up echos from a 1961 poem by Anna Akhmatova that itself begins with an epigraph from Marina Tsvetaeva, Oh Muse of Weeping…..
Beneath the “mother” poem for the Swan, Akhmatova writes:
19-20 November 1961, Leningrad,
the hospital in the harbor. In a delirium.
And from 1926, the Tsvetaeva poem ends with the following lines:
Too much rubbish? Little sweeping? — Grieving
mountains! Poets coupled by a single dash —
over nothingness — the no one of our
bodies. And the reliable ceiling
crowed to all the angels.
Almost a century later
the angels, even —
are sick from us
time to leave