A student of mine asked me to share the poem I read in class yesterday. It's from my favorite reading assignment in grad school so far -- Soil and Soul by Alastair McIntosh. I found it to be a beautiful tale that weaves together history, mythology and spirituality with modern political, economic and environmental issues. For anyone wishing to disentangle themselves from our Western notion of individuality, linear time and progress, this book is an opportunity to better understand a European heritage while exploring a more fluid, communal and cyclical notion of life. Pick up a copy at your local library or neighborhood bookstore! I'll set you up for the poem by beginning with the preceding paragraph:
Their music is said to come straight from faerie -- from the hollow hill on which the first of the MacCrimmons had slept. He had answered wisely when a faerie woman had asked him, 'Which woulds't thou prefer, skill without success or success without skill?' And in my imagination it feels like the spirit of the MacCrimmon is present with me here. It's as if I'm being taught the music of Avalon, Tir nan Og, the Celtic otherworld.
'This is to fortify and give comfort,' a voice says in my mind's ear. 'It's easy to make the music. Just watch nature and play what you see and hear. Play the waterfall, play the birdsong, play the beat of the butterfly's wings. That's the only score you need. That's faerie. That's the very creativity of God. Holy, Holy, Holy. Breeee-jah...Breeeee-jah, Breeeee-jah.'
...and this girl said
the girl with love in her eyes
'You will accept it'
and I said
'I will accept what?'
and she said again in the same calm voice
'You will accept it
accept the flood
accept the calmness
accept the otherworld people
accept human beings'
-Maoilious Caimbeul, And So Somersault