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Leaves of Grass by: Matthew David Segall


(a poem for Walt Whitman)

How, with only twenty-six letters, do poets dare to spell the smell of even a mere tuft of grass? How, with only ten fingers, do poets come to grips with galaxies as large as gods and older than the earth they walk on?

How, with only two eyes, do poets sing the twice-reflected sight of moonlight on the ocean waves? Poets do not pull the grass from its home to smell it. They let it spell itself from where it grows.

They let it spell itself Its home may seem dirt for digging graves to you and I, but poets know, that is where the grass turns the lifeless into light. Poets bend down to the ground to wet their tongues on drops of dew. They place their noses near to rooted plants to celebrate the solar scent of sunlight green’d.

sunlight green’d

Poets bow to upright blades of grass. They lay their heads against the horizon: one ear down to earth witnesses the whisperings of worms, while the other up to heaven listens to the languages of angels.

against the horizon


A hundred-thousand human words cannot approach the worth of one earthworm— each an ouroboric world unto itself. Each leaf of grass, a unique universe. Every blade, a loyal renegade: sharing a single soil bed, content to create without contention or copyright.


Fed freely by the Sun, these leaves write for fun. Step lightly, lest you trample on the work of stars as you go. Learn from poets to stand in silence, to hear the pages of the trees turning in the wind, and to read on them the teachings of ages. Learn to listen as Nature speaks: Every fallen leaf a eulogy for summers past, every writhing worm another written word in the memoir of the world.

stand in silence


Poets do not pull the grass from its home to smell it. They let it spell itself from where it grows.

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 3


Sufism: an inquiry - Vol16.3  

A journal for people of the heart.

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