The poet Philip Levine died Saturday. Although I should have, I’d not known his work but since then have enjoyed reading some of it and listening to recordings of him speaking, like this wonderful conversation with Bill Moyer. His poem “Our Valley,” in particular, struck me, especially the line
“You have to remember this isn’t your land.
It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived beside
and thought was yours.”
So often I catch myself talking about “my flowers” or something similar and, thankfully, usually end up seeing the real relationship I have with life. “Call it our life” seems such a wonderful shorthand that so often goes off the rails.
These aerial photographs I’ve made of various places on “my” planet came to mind as I read his words “worship the mountains as they dissolve in dust.”
A wonderful poem. I wasn’t familiar with his work either. Thanks for sharing. One of the reasons I love winter is that it so strongly reminds me of my place in the larger scheme of nature and the world.