If He Can Make Her So - by Haniel Long
The living roots enfold the soil, the soil
The living roots – between them is forever
The secret ritual of their nourishment.
Without the roots the earth must blow away,
And out of earth roots wither.
Nobody knows what the soil is, except
That it is something working towards a balance,
Something that balances itself with death
As well as life, and needs long years to do so.
If the wide earth has anywhere done better
Because of men, be sure they were good men,
Each of whom tended his own bit of ground
Humbly, and went down into it at last
His heart already changed to a rich compost.
Many thanks to Eliot Coleman for digging up this poem by Haniel Long, 1968.