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Earth

  • But the Earth was soon going to find out that her children, these transitory creatures, had discovered the means not only of dying more quickly on her flanks, but of causing her to die along with them; the means to blow her up and destroy their foster mother, their only friend.

  • Unless the gentle inherit the earth, / There will be no earth.

    • May Sarton,
    • "New Year Poem," The Silence Now ()
  • In the working of silver or drilling of turquoise the Indians had exhaustless patience, upon their blankets and belts and ceremonial robes they lavished their skill and pains. But their conception of decoration did not extend to the landscape. They seemed to have none of the European's desire to 'master' nature, to arrange and re-create. They spent their ingenuity in the other direction; in accommodating themselves to the scene in which they found themselves. This was not so much from indolence, the Bishop thought, as from an inherited caution and respect. It was as if the great country were asleep, and they wished to carry on their lives without awakening it; or as if the spirits of earth and air and water were things not to antagonize and arouse. When they hunted, it was with the same discretion; an Indian hunt was never a slaughter. They ravaged neither the rivers nor the forest, and if they irrigated, they took as little water as would serve their needs. The land and all that it bore they treated with consideration; not attempting to improve it, they never desecrated it.

  • Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky.

  • The world is God's language to us ...

  • How much longer must we wash the earth clean / Of violence and lies? / Do you hear, O Lord? If you hear - / Give us the strength to serve her.

  • ... I had assumed that the Earth, the spirit of the Earth, noticed exceptions — those who wantonly damage it and those who do not. But the Earth is wise. It has given itself into the keeping of all, and all are therefore accountable.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Everything Is a Human Being," Living by the Word ()
  • It has been proved that the land can exist without the country — and be better for it; it has not been proved ... that the country can exist without the land.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Everything Is a Human Being," Living by the Word ()
  • We have a beautiful / mother / Her green lap / immense / Her brown embrace / eternal / Her blue body / everything / we know.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "We Have a Beautiful Mother," Her Blue Body Everything We Know ()
  • There is only one question: / how to love this world.

  • We are the heirs of the ages; but the estate is entailed, as large estates frequently are, so that while we inherit the earth, the great round world which is God's footstool, we have only the use of it while we live and must pass it on to those come after us. We hold the property in trust and have no right to injure it or to lessen its value. To do so is dishonest, stealing from our heirs their inheritance.

    • Laura Ingalls Wilder,
    • 1923, in Stephen W. Hines, ed., Little House in the Ozarks: A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler, The Rediscovered Writings ()
  • Earth-voices are glad voices, and earth-songs come up from the ground through the plants; and in their flowering, and in the days before these days are come, they do tell the earth-songs to the wind. And the wind in her goings does whisper them to folks to print for other folks, so other folks do have knowing of earth's songs. When I grow up, I am going to write for children — and grownups that haven't grown up too much — all the earth-songs I now do hear.

    • Opal Whiteley,
    • 1920, in Benjamin Hoff, ed., The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow ()
  • Tread softly! all the earth is holy ground.

  • How shall I / celebrate the planet / that, even now, carries me / in its fruited womb?

  • If dead things love, if earth and water distinguish friends from enemies, I should like to possess their love. I should like the green earth not to feel my step as a heavy burden. I should like her to forgive that she for my sake is wounded by plough and harrow, and willingly to open for my dead body.

  • To people who think of themselves as God's houseguests, American enterprise must seem arrogant beyond belief. Or stupid. A nation of amnesiacs, proceeding as if there were no other day but today. Assuming the land could also forget what had been done to it.

  • Remember the earth is a body & if you're very still you can put your hand on the mountain's rib & feel it breathing.

  • We are earth of this earth, and we are bone of its bone. / This is a prayer I sing, for we have forgotten this and so / The earth is perishing.

    • Barbara Deming,
    • "Spirit of Love" (1973), We Are All Part of One Another ()
  • I have laid my cheek upon the earth and felt it my mother's bosom.

  • Maka ke wakan — the land is sacred. These words are at the core of our being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood. Take our land away and we die. That is, the Indian in us dies. We'd become just suntanned white men, the jetsam and flotsam of your great melting pot.

  • Groves and hill-sward smelt sweet; and as soon as the sun was down there streamed out all around the strong, cool, sourish breath of sap and growing things — it was as though the earth gave out a long, lightened sigh.

  • The great sea / frees me, moves me, / as a strong river carries a weed. / Earth and her strong winds / move me, take me away, / and my soul is swept up in joy.

    • Uvavnuk,
    • in Knud Rasmussen, Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition ()
  • The act of putting into your mouth what the earth has grown is perhaps your most direct interaction with the earth.

  • We are of the earth, made of the same stuff; there is no other, no division between us and 'lower' or 'higher' forms of being.

  • ... man ... thinks of himself as a creator instead of a user, and this delusion is robbing him, not only of his natural heritage, but perhaps of his future.

  • Spirit of twilight, through your folded wings / I catch a glimpse of your averted face, / And rapturous on a sudden, my soul sings, / Is not this common earth a holy place?

  • Faith is not faith which is not tried.

    • Katherine Zell,
    • c. 1560, in Stephen J. Nichols, The Reformation ()
  • ... a man can break God's laws and be forgiven. That's what they teach us. But when he breaks Nature's laws, there's no forgiveness — and there's no escape. Sooner or later he pays the penalty, or his children pay it — or his children's children. It doesn't matter much. It must be paid.

  • ... the earth was wet and dark, and the smell of it was a sweet bruise on the air ...

  • You must bind up any wounds you give the earth and you must feed her to replace what you take from her. Every gift she gives, every tree, every stalk of grain, costs her. Only if you repay your debts will she continue to provide.

  • Earth, old man of the planets, you suck at my foot / which wants to fly ...

    • Nelly Sachs,
    • "Earth, old man of the planets, you suck at my foot," O the Chimneys ()
  • I know I am made from this earth, as my mother's hands were made from this earth, as her dreams came from this earth and all that I know, I know in this earth, the body of the bird, this pen, this paper, these hands, this tongue speaking, all that I know speaks to me through this earth.

  • This earth is my sister; I love her daily grace, her silent daring, and how loved I am. How we admire this strength in each other, all that we have lost, all that we have suffered, all that we know: We are stunned by this beauty, and I do not forget: what she is to me, what I am to her.

  • I was in love with the whole world and all that lived in its rainy arms.

  • The Indian never hurts anything, but the white people destroy all ... How can the spirit of the earth like the white man? That is why God will upset the world — because it is sore all over. Everywhere the white man has touched it, it is sore.

    • Pretty-shield,
    • in Frank Bird Linderman, Pretty-Shield, Medicine Woman of the Crows ()
  • We survive day by day on this planet by adjusting down, adjusting down. Little by little, imperceptibly, we adjust to increasingly deadly conditions, and come to accept them as 'natural' or inevitable.

  • Wide, wide world, but as narrow as the coins in your hand.

  • ... in terms of the biology of the planet, development is a euphemism for destruction.

  • ... as a physician I examine the dying planet as I do a dying patient. The earth has a natural system of interacting homeostatic mechanisms similar to the human body's. If one system is diseased, like the ozone layer, then other systems develop abnormalities in function — the crops will die, the plankton will be damaged, and the eyes of all creatures on the planet will become diseased and vision impaired.

  • We are the curators of life on earth; we hold it in the palms of our hands.

  • We don't realize that we're destroying ourselves when we destroy the planet. When we understand that we are the rain forest, then there's a possibility we can save it.

    • Anne Wilson Schaef,
    • "Soulful Living," in Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, eds., Handbook for the Soul ()
  • O Earth! art thou not weary of thy graves? / Dear, patient mother Earth, upon thy breast / How are they heaped from farthest east to west!

    • Julia Dorr,
    • "O Earth! Art Thou Not Weary?" Poems ()
  • Clay. It's rain, dead leaves, dust, all my dead ancestors. Stones that have been ground into sand. Mud. The whole cycle of life and death.

  • The earth is bread we take and eat.

  • Any interference with nature is damnable. Not only nature but also the people will suffer.

  • The main difference between our people and the world around us is our thankfulness and respect for the Earth, our environment, and the natural world. In our way, every day is a good day.

    • Audrey Shenandoah,
    • in Wilma Mankiller, Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women ()