Life is surface material

skin deep

a shallow wave of earth

stuck rolling in across vast shores

of clay and sand and rock

that, dry and of themselves,

simply cannot glisten green.


Two to eight inches of language

laid upon the speechless beneath

says everything we ever eat

of the land, humming microbial

biographies of philanthropists

who give being to the human.


In a word: true soil—

the damp, spongey mind that imagines

us alive and keeps us dreaming;

if you make but one friend this year,

please unsure their name is Soil.


Soil thinks and speaks and tissues

our lives; soil remembers who we are

when our ploughs and pavements

have us forget: an extra breath

breathed into what already respired

and we were born

to care and to tend

this thin eloquent skin of Eden.

Greg Kennedy writes poetry, practices spiritual direction and runs ecologically grounded retreats at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. He has published with Novalis three volumes of Reupholstered Psalms and Amazing Friendships Between Animals and SaintsHis prayer is unconventional but, he trusts, unconditionally faithful.

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