Crafting Words of Earth and Water

By a river’s boulder-strewn gravelly bed,
haiku unfurl in a meadow flecked
with dandelions and cowslips. A sonnet
finds a foothold on a face of rock
and in fine fissures ballads grow.
We smell them in clods of earth
that tumble crumbly from the plough;
hear them in the songs of birds,
trickle of streams and ocean’s roar;
taste them in a blackberry’s words.
On the beach, we trace them in sand,
among pebbles and shells in our hands,
spilling their rhymes into the sea.
We must capture them or let them be.

Kim M. Russell, 31st May 2021

pile of stones

Image by Ksenia on Unsplash

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: Earthcraft (A Way of Working)

I love the way Brendan began his Monday essay about work with a sonnet by Seamus Heaney, a true man of the earth and a poetic craftsman.  I enjoyed the journey from the beginning of human toil in the Garden of Eden, via pyramids and silver mines and a variety of labour-saving devices to factories and offices – and eventual retirement.

I retired from teaching in 2014 and haven’t looked back. Writing has filled my mornings and evenings, and I’ve only had a few short breaks of no more than a week. I too am taking a break, somewhat longer than two weeks, but I should be back by Christmas. I’ll still be writing – I have a pamphlet and a YA novel to finish – as well as editing my husband’s memoir. Just not blogging.

Brendan reminds us that, at earthweal, ‘the craft we specialize in is earth-poetry. If the earth is sacred, then our craft must reflect it; if the earth is damaged, our craft must also take that into account, like the flaw in the Navaho rug which allows the spirit a way out of the pattern.’ For this weekly challenge, we are writing of Earthcraft, the work of restoring earthly perfection through craft.

Have a relaxing well-deserved break, Brendan, and thank you for this apt prompt.    

26 thoughts on “Crafting Words of Earth and Water

  1. A fine bushel of earthpoems gathered from about the living day. I love the seamless identity of haikus and dandelions, ballads growing in fissures, rhymes of the sea. That to me is earthcrafting. Loved your postscript too, congrats on retirement and all the fulfilling work it brings. Enjoy the break too — you write fulsomely, I’m sure it will be good to allow the waters to fill back up within. Best, Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful wordcraft here Kim, from your seemingly effortless use of alliteration and assonance to the final ringing couplets! Indeed we must capture them or let them be. Enjoy your well-earned ‘break.’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The 1st 5 scene-setting lines (esp the image of ballads budding in fine fissures) beautifully set up the sensory images so perfectly conveyed in the balance. And the imperative of the final line sings out to all poets. This is truly an outstanding work KR, Mind blown.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a beautiful poem, Kim, the poems hiding in the cracks and fissures of the earth. A lovely idea. We will definitely miss your beautiful work. It sounds like you have a full complement of projects to complete. Write on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sherry. I will miss you all very much too and hope that my projects won’t take up too much of my time so that I can drop by from time to time. I’ll be back before we know it. 🙂


      1. I’ve never had the courage to try to publish my own poems, as I frankly don’t think they’re particularly memorable, so I do wish you the most excellent visit with family, and focus to your tasks ~

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A tactile piece of earth poetry, rich and full of the beauty of the places where words love. I too love the presence of these words in their natural habitats – the dare to try hold them still a moment or let them be. good luck with all the writing projects.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.