we cover up the roots: a poem

I appreciate the work of John Fox, who connects poetry writing, self development, and soul healing. His books are full of inspiring stories, example poems, and writing exercises, along with lots of quotations from poets and other artists. They encourage me to stop worrying about being good or correct, and just enjoy messing around with words.

After I read the chapter “Leaving the Roots On” in his book Finding What You Didn’t Lose, a poem came out, quite spontaneously. And as so often happens, I was grateful to receive this message from a less conscious part of me — the “underground.”

How do you connect with your roots, dirt and all?


we cover up
                        the roots
        we shove them down deep
where no one can see them
                we suffocate them
                                                    into silence
                       buried alive
         they tell no tales

but that’s how the light
                                             invades us
        how it breathes
                into the darkness
and communes
                               with rock and water
         down where
                                   the surface
                    is starting to crack

and one day
                        my roots will open
            like a flower
                       by the sun underground
I won’t know any more
                 what is dirt
                                        what is air
         and my stuffed-shut mouth
                                will sing

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