Holy Green,Sweet-Smelling

I have never seen your flowing glossy green
Or wound the robust pliancy of your fibers,
Tender yet strong, strung like the sinews
Of a sweet-blooded filly, between my fingers.
I have never cut your purple-and-white banded tendons
From the nurturing brown ground where tread my feet
Or rubbed my nails with your fragrance.
Sweet-smelling hair of Mother Earth, I yearn to be that sister
Who holds your fresh-washed strands to braid
Into long winding plaits more precious
Than the black fabrics, I wear on my own head
And longer and more sinuous than my human longing
For your green magic closer to the humble humus
So that your streams seep into my warm skin
Little by little, till the ten tributaries of my twin palms,
The ten stalks on my twin root-knots
Are marinated deep enough to start smelling sweet
And looking green with your quietly oozed blood
Till Mother Earth knows her hair intertwined
With the flesh of a daughter who was turned away
And is strenuously weaving the vital patterns
For her final return, and I cannot let you go,
Holy green, endlessly and ecstatically renewing life
By constantly dedicating that sacred hue
To the light of faithfully returning days,
I must leave my hands grown together with you,
Holy, holy green, holding you, I must be holding you,
Reciting your names like a magic spell,
Holy green, sweet-smelling, Hierochloe odorata,
The magical mellifluous melic appellation
That recuperates my love for botanical nomenclature,
Which, with you with me, ceases to be that
Hair-splitting implement that disenchanted science wields
To denominate and dominate, assign and own the world
But a hair-praising,hair-praying,hair-plaiting,
Even hair-splicing phrase I may repeat and repeat
To conjure your presence into my hungry hands,
Hierochloe odorata,Hierochloe odorata,
Now with your name greening and sweetening my tongue
The old powerful tongues of Greek, Latin and English
Are a little bit less violent,a little bit gentler
Than even they themselves imagined possible—
Allow their sounds and shapes to be translated
Into your language, the holy, green, sweet-smelling
Words of your loving growth from Mother Earth.
Hierochloe odorata, I yearn to be with, to be-holding
Your beautiful words, those words I love to say
But may never completely know, or own.
I belong to a race who love to braid, upbraid,
Abridge texts and textiles, while Mother Earth,
Your wise woman,lets you grow golden-green, free,
Never cuts not ties you off, copiously storied tresses,
Till your rhizomes and fronds that fountain thence from
In ongoing multifolds girdle the girth of the globe.
Yet I plead to hold a small gift of you,like a memorial curl
Of a sweet sibling with whom I have never shared
A word or pillow, yet who I remember evergreenly,
Or a few lines culled to keep on my breath from
An infinitely longer and longer poem
In an ancient tongue I daily diligently read
But never could understand nor analyse,
A beautiful run-on sentence that over and out grows
Grammar, reason, set semantic sense.
Hierochloe odorata,Hierochloe odorata,
Be holy, be green, be sweet-smelling, be—

Poem by Lucie Chou

Lucie Chou is an ecopoet, naturalist, and vegan environmental activist who works from her precious experiences of communion with nature in all her incarnations, especially vegetal. She has been published in Entropy magazine and the Black Earth Institute Blog. She currently resides in mainland China with houseplants and trees she tries in every imaginative way to communicate with. She is studying English language literature at college.