Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Poetry Stretch: Water - a found poem

The "Living on Earth" series interviewed our dear friend Philip Greear* a year or two ago. When Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect put up this week's Poetry Stretch -- "Found Poetry" -- challenge, I immediately remembered thinking Philip's words in this interview sounded like poetry. This short segment made the best poem, I thought, edited slightly and arranged to emphasize the phrasing.

Who Owns the Water?

Who owns the water?

I hear a cricket
somewhere now
and that cricket thinks
it owns the water
just as much as I do.

And I hear a bird sing
and that bird thinks
"This is my territory!"
That's why it's singing,
"This is mine."

But neither of them
will modify it
beyond the ability
of the territory
to recover itself

I may drink the water
that comes out of the ground,

But it's not mine
except the temporary use I make of it.

At my age I know it's temporary.

I'll be returning all of it pretty soon.
by Philip Greear
as interpreted by Terrell Shaw

* Dr. Philip F-C Greear was chairman of the department of biology and earth sciences for many years at Shorter College. His efforts in the sixties and seventies resulted in Interstate 75 being rerouted to lessen its environmental impact -- and, by the way, saved the government a pile of money in the process. That story was written up in Reader's Digest. We got to know the Greears in about 1971 but became close friends in 1977 when we helped Mildred in her campaign for the Sate Senate and in the early eighties when we joined their successful fight to stop Reagan from selling off the Chattahoochee National Forest. Before, in retirement, they moved back to Helen, Mildred and Phillip were practically surrogate grandparents to our young daughters. Phillip is now blind, but his brilliant mind is still sharp. Philip Greear is one of the gentlest, kindest, wisest, most honest, men I know.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Terrell, what a nice comment about Papa. You and Shelia were (still are) so important to my father and my family.