[Murmurs from the earth of this land]
by Muriel Rukeyser
Murmurs from the earth of this land, from the caves and craters,
from the bowl of darkness. Down watercourses of our
dragon childhood, where we ran barefoot.
We stand as growing women and men. Murmurs come down
where water has not run for sixty years.
Murmurs from the tulip tree and the catalpa, from the ax of
the stars, from the house on fire, ringing of glass; from
the abandoned iron-black mill.
Stars with voices crying like mountain lions over forgotten
Blue directions and a horizon, milky around the cities where the
murmurs are deep enough to penetrate deep rock.
Trapping the lightning-bird, trapping the red central roots.
You know the murmurs. They come from your own throat.
You are the bridges to the city and the blazing food-plant green;
The sun of plants speaks in your voice, and the infinite shells of
A beach of dream before the smoking mirror.
You are close to that surf, and the leaves heated by noon, and
the star-ax, the miner’s glitter walls. The crests of the sea
Are the same strength you wake with, the darkness is the eyes
of children forming for a blaze of sight and soon, soon,
Everywhere, you own silence, who drink from the crater, the
nebula, one another, the changes of the soul.
This poem just feels so rich. None of the imagery in this poem is commonplace. Every line has something strange about it, something that on the first read might not strike you as odd, but upon a closer look, really stands out as being out of the ordinary. “A beach of dream,” or “our/dragon childhood” and “The sun of plants speaks in your voice.” I love the new meaning this poem gives to different words, using them in a way that is unusual, but still retaining the meaning.