June 21, 2011

It's the First Day of Summer! Shall We Offer Flowers?

Today is the summer solstice, the first day of summer. To celebrate this day, which is the longest day and shortest night of the year in the Northern hemisphere, we would like to share the poem, "Shall We Offer Flowers?" by Andrew Schelling.


Bitter buffaloberry
devil’s club, tangled dogtooth
narrowleaf arrowhead
What are the lineages of life?
ground water, radiant heat—
listen, they form the underlying beat
of the watershed,
gifts with no motive the way of the ancients
skyrocket chicory bluestem
few-flowered shooting star
Indian pipe
all the paradise you need’s outside your door
the medicine Buddha wears a lapis lazuli headdress
feathers & turquoise beads
can you give thanks with a pinch of
bear tobacco?
balms salves unguents poisons the mints
Earth puts forth her medicines
one day you’ll need a plant
a certain herb you’ve never met
step cautiously
yellow owl’s clover, prairie smoke
if you bend the yellow florets aside
you open an abyss

—Andrew Schelling

To hear Andrew Schelling read his poem aloud, click here.

Image via ecstaticist (flickr)

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Dominic Gomez's picture

"Today the summer has come at my window with its signs and murmurs. Now it is time to sit quietly face to face with Thee, and to sing dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure," writes Rabindranath Tagore.

Nichiren Daishonin reminds us "Whether you chant the Buddha's name, recite the sutra or merely offer flowers and incense, all your virtuous acts will implant benefits and roots of goodness in your life. With this conviction you should strive in faith."

And pagan author Willow Firesong notes "The planting is done, Spring has passed, and we mark the point of balance, the breath between planting and harvest, the long, slow, lazy days of Summer at it's height."

Hail the wonderful rhythm of nature.

Monty McKeever's picture

You just made my morning Dominic. Hail the wonderful rhythm of nature!