longing to find the object of this love that burns in me,
restlessly i reach out, seeking what calls me;
small though i am, this love is so vast, this longing so great
i can hardly eat or breathe for the strength of the yearning within me.
i search in the mountains and gorges, on sea-strands and cliff tops,
in forests and plains, along rivers from sources to deltas,
among the myriad grass blades and leaf forms in a hunger of longing,
down on the sea beds i wonder at the strangeness i find there,
and i gaze on the clouds that constantly change in constant inconstancy,
and still there is love left that longs for a beloved.
i marvel at the coat of the leopard, the wrinkles of the elephant,
the form of the runner, the hunter, the stalker, dance of hunter and hunted,
eye of eagle, nostril of vulture, ear of fruit bat,
cry of tiger, song of gibbon, colour of a flock of macaws,
voice of the whale, intent of the ant and the termite, cunning of the orchid,
knowledge of nestbuilding, instinct for flight and direction,
bodies of great trees branching high into aerial pathways,
the lean of the leaf to the sun, the twist of the tendril in motion
that turns like cloud spirals, rain rising and falling in love with the sun.
i watch flocks flexing in flight, remembering migration, fish swarming and spawning,
male seahorse in labour with the moon, jetting forth miniature offspring,
the billions of bees and their dancing, the hosts of the human. –
then i see it’s the earth herself i love, her full self, her round being,
this is what i long to embrace, and as i think it,
she floats clear in my passionate imagining, a breathing jewel, and i see
how night and day flow over her lands and her oceans,
the ripple of her mountains, her blue ocean trenches
and all her directions, north to the north pole till north becomes south,
east to the sunrise and west to its setting as east becomes west and west east,
and i love every arc of her endless horizons,
going over each part of her body,
tracing lines of migration and change on her skin.
i am carried in the roaring winds that circle her south pole,
resistlessly carried in her cold ocean currents, heavy with abundance of life,
thrown up on her shores, drawn back to her depths,
caught in the race of her tides from moon ebb to full,
till i enter the secret succession of the slowest of growth,
living crystal histories matured to perfection in the veins of the rocks
in the time before time, measured only in the decay of uranium.
i return to her lapfuls of islands rooted in her sea beds
with their auras of wavelines in infinite gradations of blue
till they end in foam in her tide pools, her reefs and lagoons,
breaking endlessly on her infinite shorelines.
now she swims out complete and alone in her membrane of water,
emerging by the smallest of margins into life in all its diversity,
so i cry out in one breath so simple, so complex,
so full of infinities, so fragile and finite,
so finely poised in the tension of living and dying,
so absolute, so contingent, so balanced, yet between such extremes.
and now that my love has found its beloved,
i recapitulate mineral thoughts, single celled intensity,
bivalve persistence, amphibian ambivalence, lizard insight, all that we’ve grown through
in order to praise the unfathomable beauty of my beloved
till i end as this being and transform again
to whatever this matter may dance into next,
grieving that only the human forgets where its true love lies,
for even the earthworm has its own forms of worship,
and i thought of the final emergence of the curious and dexterous,
the gossiping humans, careless trustee of the jewel that wears them.
great fertile shadow of being, in the darkness of potential
you were already here, life giver, life taker, mother of emptiness
and overflowing, mother of earthquakes and storms, maker, unmaker.
i ride on your back round the sun, gazing about me
at the splendid company with which we journey,
most indulged, most indulgent and dangerous of children
who long to deny we are linked by a life chord
to our parent of parents, as we struggle with darkness and light.
my love is too large for me, it overflows me and bathes me,
this love is your love for me, i do not contain, you contain me,
i am lost in you, bathed in the warmth of your vast embrace.