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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 5: The Fire in Our Souls

Veronica Golos

Veronica Golos
The firmament is blue forever, and the earth
will long stand firm and bloom in Spring.
But Man, how long will you live?

                   Li Tai Po, Drinking Song of the Sorrow of the Earth
I can not.
there is a knot where
I should be looking.
              I step out into the world even outside my garden
              & I hurry back as if …
I should be looking
at the knot where
I can not.
Eden is ruin.
Ruin to believe in
Eden unbearable Eden
What we touch(ed)
              there/where is land still primeval low land wilderness.
              there /where is even one tiny garden with one cosmos.
blue aster
seeds of purple loosestrife
sweet carrots
queen anne’s lace
wild filbert
fragrant sumac
but you ask of the future.
the possible. impossible.
               take away their home or sustenance and they fall dead on their own.

there are words, simple words… lost to me.
do I love my species?
do I go to a past I can
not image. I mean imagine.
I mean millennium.
can I believe?
my garden was rapture
the iris first
then mint the bees loved
poppies their gorgeous vases
the holly hocks seven feet tall
now bare
will be
the wild persistent grasses &
the nails of copper will never rust.
do we need a new birth?
               the rock cycle feldspar and quartz
               earthcrust weathered by carbonic
               acid formed by rain and carbon di-
               oxide reform/dissolve soil minerals
               that release calcium to ground-wa-
               ter rivers carry to the sea where it
               precipitates out as seashell
sediments glaciers pollen runoff light seams dry season algal blooms
footprints in wet ash.
kenya ethiopia gestation of human us.
mammalia. extinct. enslaved blood cousins. we radiated.
shall we be fertile?
lake tanganyikaa gombe stream dust we breathe will breathe
blue monkey.
but you ask if I may envision the future a different future one where our species is different a different heart beat wings perhaps or a return to animal or angel or what we might be. how we could be. yes.
          to stare into the eyes of a chimpanzee in the wild is to glimpse the world had we
         stayed in the forest; their thoughts may be obscure but their intelligence is

do we go backwards to go forward?
must we/i re-member
all our beginnings and endings
in order to believe?
Veronica Golos is the author of Vocabulary of Silence, winner of the New Mexico Book Award, poems from which are translated into Arabic by poet Nizar Sartawi, and A Bell Buried Deep. Her most recent poetry book is Rootwork: The Lost Writings of John Brown & Mary Day Brown, (3: A Taos Press, 2015). Golos’s poems are anthologized in The Poet’s Craft, Annie Finch, Editor, Collecting Life: Poets on Objects Known and Imagined, Ley Lines, editor Harvey Hix, Pomegranate Seeds: An Anthology of Greek-American Poets, editor Dean Kostos, Somerset Hall Press, 2008, among others and she is the Poetry Editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion (Harvard Divinity School), and co-editor of the Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art. She lives in Taos, NM, with her husband, David Pérez.



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