Wild Reciprocity

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by Susan O’Connell

Recorded by author

Remember your youth,
did you hear
the voices of Earth
with your animal body?

Did your senses respond
to Earth’s creativity
bursting with honeycomb and clover,
her purple lupine color rising up
through fields of yellow mustard?

Did you hear green sea songs
running before white cresting waves,
salty mist whispers,
or a foghorn’s call?

Today, can you imagine
being deep in a lush forest
home of monarch butterflies, sap, and ants,
all dreaming of life?

Sensuality stretches her limbs
offering her vibrant palette,
nudging our hearts to open
like orange poppies in the sun.

Still, seasons pass away
and we walk with them.
Earth continues to bestow her gifts
despite our arrival at the twilight of life.

And today,
if we really listen, we might hear
the tremulous tattered voices
of forests just now razed
somewhere on earth.

Muddied water seeps and pools
on hard fallow ground
once carpeted with ferns,
white lilies and feathers.

When we witness wastelands
we have created or allowed
can we feel grief for wild ones
ripped from their homes?

If we allow ourselves
to feel the pain of these losses
we might find our hearts
beat red, responsive still.

Raven and Owl witness
our past and future deeds
what might they teach us?

What ripens within and around
when our healing words and deeds align
and become woven like tree roots
inside our hearts?

Perhaps seeds of compassion
will nourish a greening canopy
of inclusion, as we respond
to the call of Earth.

Hawk cry pierces sky
telling us the time is now.
Will we answer the call
of wild reciprocity?

Photography by Susan O’Connell


Susan O’Connell is grounded in transpersonal ecopsychology, multi-cultural eco-spirituality, creative expression, and poetic medicine. She is a Registered Expressive Arts Educator through IEATA. She taught courses at Sofia University including ecopsychology, creative expression and spirituality. She offers workshops in poetic medicine. Her published work includes a chapter (The Sacred Tree) in Anxiety Warrior II (Schultz), poems in Voices of the Grieving Heart (M. Bernhardt, Ed.) and the IEATA newsletter, an essay with Abbey of the Arts, and photography in Presence Journal and Center for Sacred Studies. Her passion lies at the intersection of nature, creative expression, and lifelong spiritual health.

Recorded by Rebecca Selove

6 thoughts on “Wild Reciprocity

  1. Dearest Susan,
    Over the years of your life, your voice and spirit have grown to exquisite depths and breadths and heights!
    Through your lifestyle and your poetry, you are embracing and healing our earth, all that is upon it, and our own human soulfulness.
    My hope is that this particular poem reaches an abundance of people and inspires you to compose many more poetic reflections.
    Love, Toni

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful poem. Your voice reflects the urgency for all of us to “answer the call.”

    Great picture of the hummingbird.

  3. What a powerful poem! Thank you for so eloquently putting into words what we all should be thinking about.

    Love the picture of the hummy!!!!

  4. Dearest Susan –
    I am so moved by your poem. I am so blessed to call you friend.💕 THANK YOU for sharing the beauty that dwells in your heart through your poetry with a world that so desperately needs it!💞🌊💞
    Love & Hugs –
    Barbara :-)PTL

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