We Walk In Footprints

This poem was written a little while ago when I was looking out to the hills of the Peaks.  They have such an ancient, solid presence, calmly enduring and surviving harsh conditions and change in peace and acceptance over millennia.  It amused me then to think of humanity with all our beliefs in our own importance and invincibility, our sense of ourselves as ‘developed’ because of our technology and ‘civilisation’.  It seems that for all this, we have still not mastered this basic ability to ‘be’ in the world and co-exist peacefully, as part of life on the Earth.  We have been on this planet for just a heartbeat in comparison to these great monuments, these powerful presences within Nature, yet we seem so lacking in humility in the face of that, so like children that think they know everything about the world when they have seen just a tiny fraction of life.  In the midst of these thoughts, something fell out of my head and onto the page…

We walk in footprints,
Engulfed by presence,
The stunted litter
Of those who broke free
From the stone.

Sentient voices
Born of moss
And damp earth,
Carry on wind and wave
To the bones of trees,
Their call heard
In the rattling storm,
Opening the grave
With a thousand names
Uttered in forgotten sounds,
The melodies of land and sea
Rising from out
The woodland floor
In primal belonging.

Light within shadow,
Seed within soil,
The songs of our birth,
Of the summer rose
And rich harvest,
Of golden corn
Flickering in undergrowth,
Creeping and climbing,
Wild and consumed,
By desire for life,
Desire for becoming.

These giants
Walked before us
And we stumble
In their shadow,
Forgetful in knowing,
Untouched by longing,
Grazing our knees
As children
Too petulant and proud
To take a parent’s hand.

(copyright Beth Rees)

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