“Being Human,” a Poem from Nature

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

Recently, during one of many zoom calls I attend, Carol Davis, OP shared with us a poem that turned my thinking and heart upside down.  It’s a beautiful way to understand the natural world —  I was captivated by it. Later, I shared the poem at two other meetings and it sparked a different kind of creativity in our conversation. Sometimes a gift like this comes your way and it stays with you a long time.

I share it with you now. Even if you feel self-conscious about it — read it out loud to yourself and imagine what the words are asking and be amazed.


Being Human

By Climbing PoeTree

I wonder if the sun debates dawn
some mornings
not wanting to rise
out of bed
from under the down-feather horizon

if the sky grows tired
of being everywhere at once
adapting to the mood
swings of the weather

if clouds drift off
trying to hold themselves together
make deals with gravity
to loiter a little longer

I wonder if rain is scared
of falling
if it has trouble
letting go

if snow flakes get sick
of being perfect all the time
each one
trying to be one-of-a-kind

I wonder if stars wish
upon themselves before they die
if they need to teach their young
how to shine

I wonder if shadows long
to just-for-once feel the sun
if they get lost in the shuffle
not knowing where they’re from

I wonder if sunrise
and sunset
respect each other
even though they’ve never met

if volcanoes get stressed
if storms have regrets
if compost believes in life
after death

I wonder if breath ever thinks of suicide
if the wind just wants to sit
still sometimes
and watch the world pass by

if smoke was born
knowing how to rise
if rainbows get shy back stage
not sure if their colors match right

I wonder if lightning sets an alarm clock
to know when to crack
if rivers ever stop
and think of turning back

if streams meet the wrong sea
and their whole lives run off-track
I wonder if the snow
wants to be black

if the soil thinks she’s too dark
if butterflies want to cover up their marks
if rocks are self-conscious of their weight
if mountains are insecure of their strength

I wonder if waves get discouraged
crawling up the sand
only to be pulled back again
to where they began

if land feels stepped upon
if sand feels insignificant
if trees need to question their lovers
to know where they stand

if branches waver at the crossroads
unsure of which way to grow
if the leaves understand they’re replaceable
and still dance when the wind blows

I wonder
where the moon goes
when she is in hiding
I want to find her there

and watch the ocean
spin from a distance
listen to her
stir in her sleep

effort give way to existence

-Naima Pen

Posted in Weekly Word

13 responses to ““Being Human,” a Poem from Nature

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I am going to sit and reflect, journal, create art, contemplate each stanza through the summer with this beautiful poem. We are one with nature.

  2. I often lead the prayer at this particular meeting, however, it was Francine Schwarzenberger who brought us this poem. Deep gratitude Francine!

  3. Thank you for sharing this Anne and Carol for sharing it in the first place. It makes me recall a song I used to teach as part of 3rd Grade religious ed:
    “Take care to wonder at the world through which you wander.
    Never hurry by an open door.
    For the world is a universe
    full of miracles galore.”

  4. I lost count as to how many times I found myself saying, “Oh my gosh!” Very thrilled that I took the time to stop by and read this very moving poem. You made my day and may God bless you for it. Amen.

  5. Fantastic, inspiring, thought/feeling provoking!!! Thank you. HAPPY EARTH DAY–get advocating

  6. Thank you, Anne and Carol for sharing this poem on nature. It is delightful! I have just started reading a book called “Everything Ablaze” by David Richo. The poem reflects for me how Teilhard saw earth as having an inner life. The natural world is full of God’s presence if we have the eyes to see. Let us pray to see how our love for God is love for the world and all the people in it.
    Blessings and peace, Brigid, OP

  7. Amazing thoughts, images, considerations brought smiles — and refreshed in me the wonder of creation! Thank you, Naima Pen and Sister Anne!

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