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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section Two: Spirit

Elizabeth Cunningham

Elizabeth Cunningham
…vanish without a trace
this is my church, to be outside at the sunrise
with the rest of the congregation: spiders, webs,
damp earth, unfurling plants, animals stirring, birds
there is no formal worship, there is only form
giving praise, giving wings, giving rise, giving eyes
to what was and will be before and beyond form
what must I give to attend this church? attention
to the oriole lighting in the new-leafed tree
to the flowerets fallen down, red on the grey dock
what about contending with my fellow humans
loving my neighbor as myself and doing good?
all these lives are my neighbors, this is my neighborhood
have I abandoned my kind, am I an idle
idol-worshipper, loving the earth more than god?
here is my service: to become still as the pond
on a windless dawn, a path made of rising mist
then when you look at me you will see your true face
your footsteps will be light, vanish without a trace
Elizabeth Cunningham is a Fellow Emeritus of The Black Earth Institute. She is best known for The Maeve Chronicles, an award-winning series of novels featuring the feisty Celtic Magdalen who is no one’s disciple. She lives in New York State’s Hudson Valley.





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