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Ode to Dirt

April 13, 2018

Dear dirt, I am sorry I slighted you,

I thought that you were only the background

for the leading characters—the plants

and animals and human animals.

It’s as if I had loved only the stars

and not the sky which gave them space

in which to shine. Subtle, various,

sensitive, you are the skin of our terrain,

you’re our democracy. When I understood

I had never honored you as a living

equal, I was ashamed of myself,

as if I had not recognized

a character who looked so different from me,

but now I can see us all, made of the

same basic materials—

cousins of that first exploding from nothing—

in our intricate equation together. O dirt,

help us find ways to serve your life,

you who have brought us forth, and fed us,

and who at the end will take us in

and rotate with us, and wobble, and orbit.

~Sharon Olds

(1942 to pres., American Poet)

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