National Poetry Month: Kith & Kin

One of the first essays in All We Can Save is “Indigenous Prophecy and Mother Earth,” by Sherri Mitchell. Mitchell writes that “everything is interrelated and recognized for its sacred place within the web of life.” (p. 20) This understanding is central to kincentric awareness, the understanding that “life in any environment is viable only when humans view the life surrounding them as kin.” Lyanda Lynn Haupt includes kith and kin as two of the fundamental tenets of “rootedness” in her book Rooted. She explains “where kin are relations of kind, kith is relationship built on knowledge of place–the close landscape…Kithship enlivens kinship.” (p.26)

Our house is built on land that was once part of my great-grandfather’s farm. I feel deeply connected to this land, although I never knew this was really meant by the word “kith.” I also know that before European settlers lived here, people of the Schaghticoke and Paugussett nations lived on this land. We have tried to be good stewards and remember that we share this land with others.

Some of you know that we have a new grandson. I know his parents will help him understand that “each element within creation (including humans) has the right and the responsibility to respectfully coexist as coequals within the larger system of life.” (Mitchell, p. 19) Today’s poem is dedicated to Eamonn.

Kith and kin

On the night you were born,
the moon bathed you in its silvery light,
welcoming you into the world.

Deep in the woods,
a chorus of peepers sang
out in jubilation, celebrating
your arrival.

And sap coursed through
trees and plants
swelling buds,
greening the earth,
greeting you, their brother.

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2022

National Poetry Month, Day 1

13 thoughts on “National Poetry Month: Kith & Kin

  1. Catherine! I’m so sorry it took so long to get to your post this weekend, because rude but also because Eamonn! Kith and kin! (You taught me something and pointed my attention back to that early essay.) And what a lovely context for a land acknowledgement, and what a lovely, lovely lullaby of celebration and welcome! Love the greening and the greeting so much.

    Liked by 1 person

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