Dear dirt, I am sorry I slighted you,
I thought you were only the background
for the leading characters—the plants
and animals and human animals.
It’s as if I had loved only the stars
and not the sky which gave them space
in which to shine. Subtle, various,
sensitive, you are the skin of the earth,
you’re our democracy. When I understood
I had never honored you as a living
equal, I was ashamed of myself,
as if I could not recognize
a creature who looked so different from me,
but now I can see us all, made of the
same basic materials—
cousins of that first exploding from nothing—
in our intricate dance together. O dirt,
help us find ways to serve your life,
you who have brought us forth, and fed us,
and who at the end will take us in your arms.
How is nature critical to a 21st century urban ethic?