Weekend Meditation: A Poem for Independence Day

Weekend Meditation: A Poem for Independence Day

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Dana Velden
Jul 4, 2010
Song of the Taste by Gary Snyder Eating the living germs of grasses Eating the ova of large birds the fleshy sweetness packed around the sperm of swaying trees The muscles of the flanks and thighs of soft-voiced cows the bounce in the lamb’s leap the swish in the ox’s tail Eating roots grown swoll inside the soil Drawing on life of living clustered points of light spun out of space hidden in the grape. Eating each other’s seed eating ah, each other. Kissing the lover in the mouth of bread: lip to lip. It's a great thing to recognize our independence today and celebrate freedom. But at the same time, it's also important to reflect on the many ways we are dependent and interdependent. In particular, the food that we eat, and where it is from and how it gets to us, is worth considering, for food is fundamental to life. Or, as it is pointed out in Gary Snyder's poem, food often is life. I offer this poem today because it celebrates the intimacy of eating and reminds me of my dependence on other forms of life. It's good to reflect on this and consider all the ways I can respond wisely and responsibly to this lovely, essential entanglement. Ironically, freedom, like everything, often needs some containment to be truly appreciated, and rarely comes without responsibility. As the celebratory fireworks boom and glimmer tonight, oil continues to spill from a hole in the bottom of the ocean, and a dark, karmic stain poisons the very waters that feed us. What is our wisest response to this and where will the courage and fortitude to act on this wisdom come from? Which lover's mouth will we chose to kiss, lip to lip? Gary Snyder's poem can be found in his book Regarding Wave, available at Amazon for $14.00 Related: Weekend Meditation: Interdependency (Image: Dana Velden)
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