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  • Hi.

  • Welcome.

  • Come on in.

  • Take off your shoes.

  • I'd like to tell you a story.

  • I was born in a rest in bed Grew up as a barefoot kid in South Africa raised by a mom and a dad who fixed my eyes on the living world around me as though it was that exactly living So I spent my days checking its pulse, digging for bugs, jumping from trees, skipping through grass I went to bed with mud under my nails Splinters in my feet, twigs in my hair and texture in my dreams The first love of my life was a frangipani tree in our backyard.

  • It's sweat, the sweetest nectar.

  • It wasn't tall it all.

  • But it was proud And it knocked the wind out of me whenever I saw it dancing in a storm The most beautiful thing I had ever seen Move before The hands of trees with joy outstretched and the beauty stole the breath right out of my chest.

  • The first love of my life was a tree born from this world.

  • This living world my parents fixed my eyes on Which is why I blame them that I grew up to become a poet.

  • It is their fault entirely that I am here with this clumsy but full hearted attempt at a love poem toe our planet.

  • This is where poetry is born here beneath our bare feet, here on this impossibly rare breathing sphere, here on this small speck of brilliant blue light traveling through endless space.

  • Here they're, they're they're everywhere.

  • They're in the Kruger National Park.

  • I am sitting on my father's lap small enough to bounce on his knee, cheek to cheek.

  • We are watching the stars, the Buddha boar sausage sizzles on the fire, Hyenas laugh in the distance, and Africa's air is thick.

  • This evening, my father is staring just above the branch of the Baja Becky Thorn tree.

  • There, he whispers, see the Southern Cross a constellation on Lee, visible in this hemisphere, where I whisper in return, as though the stars are skittish and might run away if they hear us calling their names.

  • I squint hard, determined to see what is yanking at the edges of my father's lips, what is causing his breath to slow his eyes, to glow his brow to wrinkle.

  • What thing hanging in the darkness can create in man this rapture.

  • I have to know where I repeat he takes my hand, rests it upon hiss and together we take aim at distant light like Ryan hunting in the night we search, and then my telescopic lenses focus.

  • The veil is lifted and the constellation of peers wow, spills for my tongue like a fountain pen exploding onto a page, nearly ruining the silence with its ecstasy.

  • Like like I had been holding onto that wow for all eternity.

  • And again, the beauty steals the breath right out of my body.

  • And the stars, the stars, the stars are forever stuck in my eyes.

  • Years later, my mother and I are in the backyard, gathering rocks and flowers to build a new home for our pet turtle.

  • She comes to me, opens her hands like the books she reads to Serenade me to Sleep reveals the story of a shingle.

  • Lolo, a millipede curled into itself, the shape of a shell, the shape of a bird's eye view of a hurricane, the shape of a human fingerprint, the shape of a spiral galaxy light years away.

  • The Fibonacci sequence gifted to me in my mother's palm.

  • She places the millipede on the grass.

  • It unwinds and surfs the green look, she says.

  • Each foot is a real a racer.

  • Each foot passes the baton before the one in front of it can move on.

  • We are connected, inextricably linked by the very fibers of our being.

  • We need each other, she says, folding her hands like she is closing a book.

  • And that is the moral of the millipede story.

  • This is my theory.

  • Surrendering my breath to beauty is not just vital to my poetry.

  • It is my duty as a citizen in our aching and distracted society to resist the spread of cynicism and fear.

  • To say no.

  • I refuse to further dark in this world by adding to its misery.

  • Instead, tow, watch the stars to run barefoot.

  • To write poetry is an act of resistance is an act of love.

  • I know I'm just a stranger making the case for something that seems whimsical and trivial, But the beauty of this earth isn't just something nice to look at.

  • It is a vital source from which to tap energy to revitalize our desire to fight for a better future.

  • So when the Earth offers you, Ah, moment of beauty in the form of a rainbow arching its spine across a clear blue sky.

  • Or the moon waxing spilling slivers of silver light onto black oceans or dandy line stems, letting go of their seeds tow.

  • Watch them drift away in a breeze, a river snaking three reads, searching for the elusive sea bird's throat singing ancient symphonies, mountains sheltered in fog stars springing forth from the abyss.

  • When beauty comes to you like this, surrender every last bit of your breath to it.

  • Let it sweep you away.

  • Let your ego retreat from your soul.

  • Let your body stripped down to the animal.

  • Let it stunned.

  • You sees you hypnotize you until you are still to the core, transfixed by its force on before it goes before it's gone.

  • Grab it by its tail.

  • Pull it into view.

  • Look at its face.

  • No, it by its name.

  • It is poetry.

  • It is art.

  • It is music.

  • It is alive.

  • This world is so so alive.

  • Let's not forget.

  • And you.

  • You are not a mere observer of the art, but a brush stroke on the same canvas.

  • You are inside of the frame fragment of the whole stanza of the poem star in the constellation foot of the millipede We need each other We all have but a short, short breath between our birth and our death, Should we not spend it?

  • Protecting this incredibly impossibly rare, beautiful, temporary home should be not Spend it proudly passing the baton to the next generation and on.

  • We must do what we can with what we have while we are here.

  • This is what I have this poem and these bare feet planted firmly on this belief that our breath is best spent on love.

  • Thanks.


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A Love Poem to Our Earth | Lindi Nolte | TEDxBearCreekPark

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/04/07
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