June 2017, Issue #5
Making Kin: Part II

Carol Corwin

Holding the Sparrow

Holding the Sparrow
Photo credit: Ellen Gerberich, Photography Artist, Nature’s Palette Photography Art

The cat brought you in
graciously spit you at my feet
I lifted you tenderly with
light hand and sorrowful thought
carried you out through
spring’s unfolding
cradled in palm
fingers wrapped up
an open cage
faithlessly I assigned you dead
then
from deep surrender you stirred
one shallow inhale mine
from body in my hand
to a tickle of sparrow feet
your
eyes clearing
hesitation trusting
flight spiritual
Oh, if only I could have held love like that.

Notes:
When I think of “making kin” my thoughts immediately go to Standing Rock. It seems to me that the unifying force of the kinship that grew beyond anyone's imaginings, was Sioux spirituality – the Great Spirit is of everything and therefore we are all related- people, plants, animals, rocks, water. To save Grandmother Earth’s water is also to save us all, all species. It seems to me that Standing Rock provides an example of how psychological kinship is created among people through an alchemy of proximity, respect, mutual goals and shared experience, including trauma. While familiarity may be the basis for making kin, shared trauma becomes the proving ground for it. As Deena Metzger writes in “Becoming Kin-Becoming Elephant” The first time I met the Ambassador Elephant, I said, “I know who you are. You are from a holocausted people and I am from a holocausted people… I promise you, your people are my people.” In recognition of shared trauma, we can feel kinship with the other victims, even if they are of another species.


Carol Corwin

During her childhood in upstate New York, Carol Corwin preferred spending time in the woods behind the family home where she listened and observed the life in that environment. There she learned the habits of many of the plants and animals and of one rocky stream. She started writing poetry at age 13, and as it did then, the inspiration for her poetry still comes almost entirely from nature. She is currently retired from a career of teaching English Language Arts. In her poems, Corwin often draws metaphorical comparisons between a personal experience and a similar experience of another species. Her connection to animals, in particular, has always been based on a belief that they experience emotions as we do. Empathy creates connection – to feel kinship elicits our innate desire to care for and protect. And so Corwin wishes her poetry to cause others to consider that we share much, maybe everything, with other species.


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