A love poem from 1972 describing the experiences of two souls over multiple lifetimes, as animate and inanimate incarnations, forever connected.
I was once a rock,
A drop of water,
A hickory shell,
A rose, a lemon tree,
A maple in New England,
A ball of cotton in Alabama.
I’ve been dust racing tumbleweeds
Across the Oklahoma flats
And settled in Arkansas;
An acorn popping in the timber
Between the jaws of a razorback.
I’ve been rain-washed and mashed,
I date back to the stooped
bastards of Adam, and beyond,
that sat in caves and hollow trees;
the sweat of enslaved temple builders.
I’ve been dead and living
In the sperm of a young pachyderm,
The crocodile egg,
The blade of a boomerang,
A chip from a stone of Easter Island.
I’ve traveled the sky in cirrus clouds
And in the bird’s wing,
Toured the oceans in the porpoise fin
and the crab’s pincher.
I’ve watched the Mongols
Thunder across Manchuria
While standing in a blade of grass
And the Indian hunt bison
From the eyes of the prairie dog.
I’ve been in the brains of kings,
The hands of warriors,
The ink of the thinkers’ pen.
I’ve been every color and temperature,
Wet and dry. Hard and soft;
And I have lived next to you
Somewhere, in something.
Maybe in the damp loam
Of redwood timbers
Or a leaf on the fish-spined fern.
You and I might have been
two sparks rising together
in a campfire
Or raced down a mountainside
As red melted rock.
Maybe you were in the other wing
Of the butterfly
And we touched when it rested.
Could it be that you were the pollen
That came to me with the bee-legs
And we made a flower
In the late spring-warm dirt?
Yes, we’ve been around
As timeless godlettes of life
Finding form and venture,
Fulfilling the grandest purpose
In a grand ol’ universe.
We may meet tomorrow;
And, when our hands touch,
Will I remember you?
Will you remember me?
(Note: This is also in mosaic print.)
This poem is from Loam of Leaves – A Collection of ‘Writs’ by Clayton Howard, available in our bookstore.
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