“Everything in nature bespeaks the mother. The sun is the mother of the earth and gives it its nourishment of heat; it never leaves the universe at night until it has put the earth to sleep to the song of the sea and the hymn of the birds and brooks. And this earth is the mother of trees and flowers. It produces them, nurses them, and weans them. The trees and flowers become kind mothers of their great fruits and seeds. And the mother, the prototype of all existence, is the eternal spirit, full of beauty and love.”
– Kahlil Gibran
The Lebanese poet and philosopher Kahlil Gibran, (1883-1931) is most famous as the author of The Prophet, but he was also one of the most environmentally aware writers of the early 20th century. Here’s part of On Children from The Prophet, and an ode to the earth I wrote structured after his poem.
“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, ‘Speak to us of Children.’ And he said: Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
My Ode to Mother Earth:
And a woman who walked in nature said, ‘Speak to us of the Earth.’
And he said: Your earth is not your earth.
She is the mother of Life’s longing for itself.
She brings air to breath and food to eat,
And though she’s yours to walk on, yet she belongs not to you.