by Elizabeth Jill

We have not spun the foam of any ocean
nor braided energies to form one lightning bolt.

We're in no place to chew the fingernails of trees
and, care-or-not, we can't unclench the jaws
of our insistent continent's divide.

The stars that hug the sky to us
we have not fed;
we have not polished rain
nor brushed the teeth of mountains.

We have not combed the tangled hair of hate
nor swept the sweat of sorrow
from the brow of earth.

There is no sense in going on like this;
we plagiarize the solemn metaphors of God
until all sacred disappears.

The years move through,
we claim to wear a scarf of wisdom
round our necks,
and yet
the foolest things distract us.

We're in no place to so presume
that we have reached one Muir of dedication,
or somehow think we've grown a tree
because we've pinched a seed.


Posted on 08/16/2012
Copyright © 2021 Elizabeth Jill

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Elizabeth Shaw on 08/16/12 at 12:59 PM

This is utterly beautiful

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 08/16/12 at 07:33 PM

Amazing Poem, each word gives just the right touch. Seems most have no wilderness in them, we have instead providence, and are content in the tight, hot cells of our hearts-to eat the dusty bread. this is a potd for sure. Thank you.

Posted by George Hoerner on 08/16/12 at 08:39 PM

Wonderful write m'lady!! The closest most of us have come to wilderness is that which we find in our own mind and many of us don't realize how desolute it really is. I love the write as it presents volumes for us to study.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 08/16/12 at 09:46 PM

We are but a blip as all around attempts to avoid our constant obstacles. Well done, Jill.

Posted by Laura Doom on 08/16/12 at 11:21 PM

It's life Jill, but not as we want to know it...
Lapse into candour any time; more digestible than candy for sure...not that you do confectionery anyway.

Posted by Clara Mae Gregory on 08/16/12 at 11:45 PM


Posted by Ken Harnisch on 08/17/12 at 09:35 AM

I can't write the superlatives this gem deserves...I'm still applauding!

Posted by LK Barrett on 08/17/12 at 12:34 PM

...what a perfect unit of measure for selfless commitment to an ideal of conservation, "one Muir of dedication." love it, love the write! lk

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 08/17/12 at 05:27 PM

Much truth and wisdom here Jill. A much needed reality check in wake of what might or might not happen later this year. Excellent imagery to carry the message.

Posted by Aaron Michael on 08/22/12 at 06:53 PM

Love. A.

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 10/18/12 at 12:43 PM

Jilly, we are blessed to have your presence in our midst, one such as yours wielding a sacred quill, rendering odes such as this which is elegant and devastatingly tender.

Posted by H.M Stevens on 05/17/13 at 01:41 PM


Posted by Rob Littler on 09/22/13 at 02:55 PM

My heart breaks at the truth of clenching full-of-care Muirisms own great knowing that wilderness is a verb, like vision...more seeing than a way to see...more being than a way to be. You helped me close my eyes to see.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 11/21/14 at 08:15 PM

Best of the best, dear friend. Congrats!

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