This is our earth.
It falls through heaven like a pearl
in a glass of plum wine.
There are no other earths that I know of.
There are no other skies that we have mapped.
This is our earth.
The Oneness who gave birth to it
remains nameless.
There was no midwife then
to bring us word of the birth-cry.
We only rejoice that it is.
This is our earth.
Ice caps its head. Glaciers clasp its feet.
Warm wind, like the breath of a lover, breathes around its breast.
Mountains thrust up to the clouds, bringing joy.
Storms blow across its shores, bringing fear.
Silvery fish capture sunlight and bring it down
into the deep, as on shore, valleys spread
with ripening fruit. Cities teem with the
poor and disenfranchised in the shadow of
golden towers. Children live and also die.
Highways throb. Monks sit in silence. Mothers
work. Crickets chirp. Teachers plan. Engineers
design. Fathers write letters.
People marry
with and without the blessings of law.
People cry.
They laugh, and brood, and worry and wait.
This is our earth.
There are no other earths.
Before its wonder, philosophers fall silent.
Before its mystery,
poets admit their words are shadow, not light.
And all the great names religious teachers have left to us—
Ishtar, Shekinah, Terra Mater, Suchness, Wakan
Tanka, Gaia—
suddenly refuse to announce themselves.
And so we too fall silent,
entering the time where words end
and reality begins.

About the Author

Mark Belletini

Mark Belletini is completing his thirty-seventh and final year in parish ministry. He has served at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio, for the past seventeen. He previously served two congregations in California, and was chair of the commission that produced the Unitarian...

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Ocean water swirls as it crashes against flat wet rocks.

Sonata for Voice and Silence

By Mark Belletini
From Skinner House Books

The 2008 inSpirit title. The inSpirit Series was previously known as the Meditation Manual Series.

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