by Deena Metzger
(Healer, poet, novelist, playwright, b. 1936)
I am learning to come upon the tree, slowly, to surprise it
for the song its memorizing. The water runs up, the sap
and the tree chant knows the difference. The water
has lived in the dark places, knows the myriad roads
the sand, the interchange between our feet. Without my
I have a chance of hearing the creature traffic.
I’m the same as the tree, as soil. Eve and her muddy body.
What are we but earth? Earth moving at a different
When we tire, we return, we slow down, we lie down.
difference then between this body and the clay jug before
Perhaps I was a clay jug. Perhaps I will be one again.
I will carry water for you, if you ask me, if someone
What differences between trees and beakers? Each is
to rivers. Each knows thirst. In those countries where
walk, they go barefoot, singing madrigals. They pad down
to the river with the animals, each to its own bank
by the water. They do not devour each other. After all,
the river is also our mother. Ask the clay jug who carries
* Title from “Saprophyte” by Sam Hamill in The Book of Elegiac Geography