Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sermon On The Pile

The morning will begin with an educational orientation.”

Says the farmer,
As she tries to convey the difference 
Between topsoil and compost.
Attempting to answer their bewildered questions.
Becoming visibly surprised when someone asks :

Is dog poop compostable or should I throw it in the trash?”...

Congregations of people are surrounding their mounds.
Pushing clods through their sifting screens.
Pulling out accidental forks, bits of plastic,
Undigested mystery clumps.

It's like kneading dough”...
Says another in childlike delight.

Then the man who asked about dog poop surprises again :

I get it!" He shouts.  "Everything is dissolving and coming apart...becoming a part of...becoming the whole!”
His hands absorbing knowledge from the sweet smelling mix.

The farmer is stunned.

Then it seizes her :

The Sermon On The Pile

+++“Friends ... What you see here is NOT topsoil!   Impossible! /// Hear me Dear Ones! /// When those precious top inches of centuries old fecundity are removed / that complexity has truly evaporated /// Sisters and Brothers! / Nothing can replace it /
Hear me now!/// In the nameless name of the source / Of that which we erode and that which we preserve / We do not make the topsoil! / All we can do is feed / protect it // 
This! // Our truest Wealth!

So I say unto you

Give yourselves to the ordinary compost pile / Tend it well / This sacred culture ///  Feel the revelation // YES! / The biotruth // Not available in digital form /// Eternally more complex than your latest computing device /// OH !! /// Forgive us the arrogance that would posit the World Wide Web as superior alternative to the breathing Web of Wisdom encoded in this heaving pile ///  YEAH!// This living compost /// Spread it open handed on the ailing soil /// Lay your salt belly down on it's medicine! /// Commit it's scent to memory /// Sanctify it /// This Holy tributary /  This taste of that most fundamental Darkness ///  Precursor to all Light /// The absence that speaks of an all encompassing embrace // Of verity // Of consolation /// Hallelujah !" +++


  1. Could be a sermon from the Mad Farmer's Liberation Front (Wendell Berry) - speak it sister!

    Have you seen Montgomery's Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, or Dirt! the book and movie. Also some permaculture practices might bring this distinction of compost and topsoil into blurry unification: a recent In Good Tilth article by Rick Valley showed a technique of continuing to build out beds by adding active compost layers to the end of the bed, letting it cook down and then having the bed already be there in situ ready for planting. Imagine the growing compost-as-mesoderm garden beds snaking their way over time across the landscape, how cool is that?

  2. beautiful...
    yes, i have the book you speak of...
    didn't know there was a film!
    "Good Tilth" looks like a great journal!!
    Thanks for referring it! :)

  3. Scooter, i just read the Mad farmer's Liberation Front by W.B.

    Deep down thanks for telling me about it!! i had no idea it existed..

    I had some very full exhales while reading it.:)

  4. Rachel, highly encourage you to get the entire volume of Berry's Mad Farmer Poems, now done in a beautiful volume all together with woodblocks... Great epic-earth inspirations for sure!

  5. Thank you for the sermon, Rachel. I feel the possession of earth, compost, holy unbuilding/rebuilding texture, smell, being.
    "Lay your salt belly down on its medicine!"