03 May 2022

In My Backyard


Seeking beneath green to billion years-old
rock pressed of sand, gravel and clay, down
through worm work in rich compost and crushed brick,

I hear immigrant and native gods
look up to sub and top soils for bones
along brick and flagstone walls.

They check the wire fence and find it porous.
They circle my feet and heart.
They shake my gravity and levity.

You are still part of what you didn’t build,
they murmur, whether walls or flora and
fauna. You are exhaust and floral scent.

You plant wrong species of tree, you wear
bad footwear. Leave old. Bare soles. 
They nudge me. 
Touch deeper, we invite you. 

Eyes open, I see only robins.  Surprised
and dizzy, I reach for trees to embrace,
white pine and lilac among the maples.

for earthweal weekly challenge: SPIRITS OF PLACE


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© 2022 Susan L. Chast


Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love that you are thinking back to the history of the land, through those thousands of years. We are part of that, as it is part of us. This poem reminds me of that quote to remember we are "the result of the love of thousands." Even thousands of creatures. I love "Eyes open, I see only robins." Lovely.

sarah said...

You are still part of what you didn’t build,

That seems to be the pivot line to me, the heart of this poem. We are part of nature, no matter how much we seek to control it or ignore it, it's there.

Kim Whysall-Hammond said...

Such a great direction go with this prompt. "Touch deeper, we invite you" . An excellent poem.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you write of the strange connection to older deeper spirits that speak to us in solitary moments in our own backyards. Suzanne - Mapping Uncertainty

Brendan said...

How perfect that you find the spirits of place in your place, a culture of nature out your back door. "You are still a part of what you didn't build" is an invitation into the recognition of unity, the vital acceptance which makes us all workers in the same hive. Really lovely response to the challenge, Susan.

Rajani said...

You are still part of what you didn’t build... such a haunting line.. love the closing too..

Ingrid said...

I love that you've created a sense of yourself as invader, who is also part of that true nature, and expressed a desire to return to it!