Staring the Red Earth Down

SKU: B-Staring
 Staring Red Earth Down by Brent Martin

Retiring the Woodpile

Heavy and ascetic the long dead Buddha
sits beside our front porch wood pile 
in silent resurrection.  Eyes closed, 
oblivious to the dried wren shit 

staining the folds of his open robe,
he is so unmoved by my afternoon activity 
of climbing, splitting, and stacking,
that he remains indifferent 

when my body wearies and my work 
collapses upon him in sloppy abandon.  
I’m tired and unenlightened
and somewhat unimpressed.   

I mean, did the Buddha ever split firewood?  
The old Zen saying goes something 
like this:  how effortless I split wood,
how effortless I carry water, 

but I admit I would rather become  
effortless at staring out at the meadow
while the goldfinches strip the feeder
of sunflower seeds above me,

sleeping at last, giving it all a rest.   


Brent Martin is a writer, folk artist, historian, and Southeast Regional Director for The Wilderness Society.  His poems and essays have been published in the North Carolina Literary Review, Pisgah Review, Tar River Poetry, Eno Journal, New Southerner, Kudzu Review, Smoky Mountain News, Chattahoochee Review, and elsewhere.  His books of poetry often regard the people and landscape of his native south: Poems from Snow Hill Road, A Shout in the Woods, and the co-authored Every Breath Sings Mountains.  He lives with his partner, singer-songwriter Angela-Faye Martin, in western North Carolina's historic Cowee community. 

Staring Down the Red Earth by Brent Martin
Price: $12.00

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