PAMELA PAULSRUD
When You See the Soil
Stones
Braille translation of poem, "When You See the Soil"
Written by John Walter

When you see the soil, her powers fade--
Before the plow, the scythe, the blade

Exposed as the cities rupture and grow
With each plant placed in a tidy row

Covered she bears the world below,
The roots, the virus, the seed's womb
Grass, trees, man, woman and soul

The sighted man God says he's blind
He's lost his sense of rhythm and time

Until the vision is felt inside,
The eyes, the brain, the hands can't see.

To get a feel for what's lost,
just take some nearby dirt in your fist
Roll it up in a little ball
Measure the moisture,
Sense the loam, the sand, the clay
Feel it all

Place a spade deep in the ground
Turn it over and watch it move

You'll see the color and the groove
Smell the sweet actinomycetes, the tiny tongues of lust
And there are more microorganisms to discuss

Let the plows rest
Keep the blade at bay
Grow some alfalfa hay

Cover me over with grass and flowers
Run across the graveyard's hardy crest
Think of a lover in the soil's rest

Don't let the soil slip away
The soul slips away
She slips away
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