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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 1, March 2015


Matthew Caretti
Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Earth Witnessing

One hand, the right, extends across lotused legs, rests on the Earth. It is a simple mudra, but elicits a mighty shudder. A salutation by the most steadfast of witnesses to a dissolution. To a union of Natures.

a newborn calf
sniffing the wind
clover blooms
beyond the unlocked
lock of the gate

More than two millennia pass. And what of this harmony? Water now runs slick through wasted lands. Mara has returned, turning neighbor against the other next door. Propping up those in stately hallways, ever sating their greed.

poison ivy
just scratching
the surface
our first and last
walk in the woods

That gentle hand now corrupted, replaced with a violent fist. Twisting and knotting deep into the earth. Wrenching away Truth from that original promise.

fouled waters
against the current
a few palms
pressed in prayer
for the fractured earth

Author's Notes:
Earth Witnessing—a familiar mudra in Buddhist statuary and iconography, wherein Gotama Buddha, at his moment of Great Awakening, asks the Earth to acknowledge his achievement.
Mudra—in Buddhist practice, a body posture or hand gesture with special meaning.
Slick water—a fluid used in hydraulic fracturing (i.e. "fracking") that has been found to contaminate sources of fresh water where such drilling is taking place.
Mara—a demon king, symbolic of the egocentric forces within us, against whom Gotama Buddha won his Great Awakening.



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