by Rick Benjamin
After Ruth Stone
to give unless it is to pay attention to bark
of eucalyptus in rain, big waves breaking
on the central coast of California during
El Niño, unless it is to ask why it is called,
El Niño as if some upper-cased Boy took
charge of the weather, to wonder at all
tsunamis expressing their crashing as
brokenness, wastes humans have made
of this world, unless it is to ask so much
more of ourselves on this planet.
Rick Benjamin is the former state poet laureate of Rhode Island (2012 – 2016) and now teaches and works at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he routinely uses The Work That Reconnects in his learning with students and others around community engagement. He is working on his fourth book of poetry, which has the audible sound of owls in the coastal pines, the smell of sage-brush, and images of hummingbirds darting down after some sweetness in it. He is also writing another book about the work that poetry helps us to do in our lives.