It’s the third Thursday of the month, and that means it’s time for . . .

In these times, the word “patriotism” is rather . . . fraught. Sometimes, it gets used as a litmus test. Sometimes it gets used as a weapon. It certainly means (or indicates) different things to different people. It’s a word I tend to avoid altogether now. But when I read this poem earlier this week, I started thinking about the word “patriotism” in a whole new way.

Poetry . . . does that.

by Ellie Schoenfeld

My country is this dirt
that gathers under my fingernails
when I am in the garden.
The quiet bacteria and fungi,
all the little insects and bugs
are my compatriots. They are
idealistic, always working together
for the common good.
I kneel on the earth
and pledge my allegiance
to all the dirt of the world,
to all the soil which grows 
flowers and food
for the just and unjust alike.
The soil does not care
what we think about or who we love
It knows our true substance,
of what we are really made.
I stand my ground on this ground,
this ground which will
recruit us all
to its side.

This poem can be found in Poetry of Presence II: More Mindfulness Poems, edited by Phyllis Cole-Dai and Ruby R. Wilson, 2023, Grayson Books. Information about the poet can be found here.


You can find A Gathering of Poetry every month . . . on the third Thursday.
Share some.
Read some.
Gather up some poetry!

(Bonny is hosting a special link-up for A Gathering of Poetry. Be sure to check it out!)