As we celebrate Earth Day this week, Deep Water welcomes a new guest editor: the poet and scholar Sharif S. Elmusa, who has written academically on the environment, authored the poetry collection “Flawed Landscape,” and presented his work at the Belfast Poetry Festival.

Elmusa writes: In this excerpt from a longer poem, “journey to dc,” Lisa Panepinto continues her conversation with “francis,” a “franciscan brother of peace” she met at a Greyhound bus station. I found it a fitting Earth Day poem because of its caring, inclusive vision juxtaposing the personal, global and cosmic. The names and thinking it invokes suggest non-acquisitive and service-oriented ways of life, founded on principles of non-violence. And the poem expresses all this in economical language and evocative images, in lower case – a light footprint.

Panepinto is the author of “where i come from the fish have souls” (Spuyten Duyvil) and “on this borrowed bike” (Three Rooms Press). She lives near Bangor where she makes arts and crafts, gardens and works as a freelancer.


journey to dc (excerpt)

By Lisa Panepinto


in regard to my sadness about environmental destruction


francis said do what you can

don’t get depressed


he told me about living in bangladesh

rome and africa    said he spoke swahili    liked gandhi

yogananda and the dalai lama


we believe the same

we just call it different names he said


i don’t know anything about finances

and I’m glad I don’t know


i follow wherever god leads

when the phone rings and someone asks me to go i go


he told me about his friend

who says it’s all about mother earth mother earth


i told him the sun is god

the sun gives life

he said the sun is the left eye of god

the moon is the right eye of god


Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “journey to dc,” copyright © 2019 by Lisa Panepinto, reprinted from “where i come from the fish have souls,” published by Spuyten Duyvil. It appears by permission of the author.

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