Friday, January 8, 2010

animal spirituality

is at The Miss Rumphius Effect today.

A sleepover on Christmas Eve at the grandparents' in Baltimore is part of our holiday tradition, elegantly (if I say so myself) incorporated into our family's 12 Days of Yuletide. I got a lovely gift this year from my mother--two books of poetry, The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins and Voices by Lucille Clifton. Lucille (I stand in awe and yet presume a first-name basis) is one of my favorite Revered Adult Poets because of the brevity and simplicity of her writing, which enables her also to speak to the youngest children. If you don't know them, go find the Everett Anderson books soon. The variety in Voices is stunning, and I particularly liked this one and shared it with D the elder:

horse prayer

why was i born to balance
this two-leg
on my back to carry
across my snout
his stocking of oat and apple
why i pray to You
Father Of What Runs And Swims
in the name of the fenceless
field when he declares himself
does he not understand my

It reminded me of the following, which I once used as the basis for a writing project with Year 2 children in London:

The Prayer of the Little Ducks

Dear God,
give us a flood of water.
Let it rain tomorrow and always.
Give us plenty of the little slugs
and other luscious things to eat.
Protect all folk who quack
and everyone who knows how to swim.

~Carmen Bernos de Gasztold
translated from the original French by Rumer Godden
from the collection Prayers from the Ark

Somehow I find the gods of animals more accessible than the gods of humans. : )


  1. I,too,have trouble with the gods of humans. I find them often to be much too small, much too legalistic and in every other way too much like them.

  2. I really enjoyed The Prayer of the Little Ducks. It sounds just like I would imagine a duck to think.


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