This poem is inspired by the 104th Psalm.
Your wind has wings which leap the mountains
sing with joy across the prairie sod.
We name you God but naming is too small
for everywhere Your light falls into the lives we live
and know and do not know.
Your ocean has its waves and tides
which cat-like creep upon the land and then subside
as the sun star settles into its bed of night.
We do not make the oceans rise or fall
or call the stars into their blooming.
We do not set the earth to quaking in its frame
or move the mountains from their place of joy and pain
or release the streams
and send them plunging into green valleys.
You are the One who kindles the rainbow
sends it longing and leaping through mountain passes.
You make the grasses lush and long and sweet and green
and feed the cattle
grow the grain that we reap and bake into our bread.
It is you who brings the rain,
the snow, season’s slow turning.
How is it that we think we know your name?
You are the everywhere beyond all names.
Hugh Mitchell’s chapbooks of original poems include Animal Guides, Light in the Grove, and, just released, Seeds in Winter, from which “Your Name” is taken. His work has been published in Comstock Review, LLI Review, and RIT Signatures. He won a contest called “Disarming Images,” which resulted in him reading his poem “Alamagordo” on a program with Gary Snyder.
Mitchell has been a leader in the Sierra Club in the Rochester, N.Y., area and in New York State, beginning in 1970 in an effort to save Genesee Valley Park. Many of his poems reflect on nature and speak of his effort to find metaphysical answers.
Write to him at 147 Hillside Ave., Rochester, N.Y., 14610, for permission to copy, republish or anthologize his poems.
[11/29/12] I have fixed the mistake in line 21.
I mistakenly typed “It is you who brings the ruin.”