Earth Day 2020

Appleton,  Maine, “Resist” – photo: Eero Ruuttila

Earth Day  the 50th anniversary of Earth Day today. Today we feature a guest posting from poet-photographer, farmer, Eero Ruuttila

“Earth day April 22nd, now a 50th anniversary, how does one Shelter-at-Home & celebrate 2020 Earth Day’s official theme, Climate Action?

What is Greta going to do?

Rockland, Maine – “Virus Heros (Greta Thunberg)” – photo: Eero Ruuttila

What would Allen do were he still here among us?

I remember Allen once asked,
“What Would You Do If You Lost It?”

& shortly thereafter his answer:
“Better Prepare for Death”

Welcome to this Spring of the Plague Years

We live below the House on the Hill. It’s occupant-in-chief boasts,
“I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present.”

Our present includes the inconvenience of a silent virus, replicating exponentially across the planet.

What does Climate Action have to do with it?

I remember when Allen & Peter & Anne would gather their carload of Naropa students to occupy railroad tracks entering Denver’s Rocky Flats munitions depot.

How do you stop plutonium trains from running on time?
How do you stop a burning house from vaporizing into ash?

I believe there is a correspondence between science & Nature, biology & Art
I add big business, the military, international government  & mystical experience to boots on the ground.

Allen taught me so…

How will this spring clog empty streets w/ sign-carrying humans?

What would Allen say to Peter about Himalayan peaks now visible above burning ghats... their holy Ganges ever shrouded & bruised following 30 years of smog?


“..where rivers & ants gather garbage man left behind in the/Valley of Mexico – /Iron’ll rust under living tree roots & soak back under-/ground/ to feed the sensitive tendrils of Ego covering mountains of/granite green mossed unconsciousness./ Heaven & ocean mirror their azure, horizon lost in yel-/lowed spectrum mist -” …. “red riverbeds snake thru paradises without electricity / – Huichol or Tarahumara solitude hectored irregular,/ antipathy to rocky plateaux,/ hollows for lone Indian humility, hand-ploughed moun-/tainside patches -/ naked white cloud-fronds floating silent over silent green earth crags.”

(“Past Silver Durango Over Mexic Sierra Wrinkles” – from  The Fall of America)

During the fall of 1977, I was consumed by the buzz of organizing a protest event against Plymouth, Massachusetts’ nuclear power plant & along with Boston’s Jack Powers had secured a commitment from a few Boston poets including John Wieners as well as the Jamaican roots reggae band, Toots & the Maytals I’d written to Allen an invitation to join our event & w/ youthful confused intent included a bundle of poems for the dear bearded teacher to critique
Allen’s answer came via a postcard, one of many he sent during those early years of Naropa’s School of Disembodied Poetics. It was life-learning instruction via bruised ego + direct transmission:

“…I”m overworked & broke & up to my neck in paper. I have no heart for it…I don’t  give a shit about I Ching. Stop the Nuke’s OK – “Greasy Hands” is just more  loudmouthing  aggression – I’m tired of the hatreds, they break my leg over & over – too much self-righteousness – Where’s the non-obsessive Joy?”

Ginsberg postcards – Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1472-1553, The Nymph of the Spring (1537), Carolyn Cassady, Portrait of Neal Cassady (1951), Ginsberg inscription – photo: Eero Ruuttila

Through Allen I learned humility & a will to acknowledge “the real teachers”

“What they undertook to do/They brought to pass/All things hang like a drop of dew/Upon a blade of grass.”
( “Gratitude to the Unknown Instructor” – W.B.Yeats – included in Allen Verbatim, Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness (1975) – edited by Gordon Ball )

Earth Day 2020… Climate Action(s)

“The message is: Widen the area of consciousness”
(Allen Ginsberg – epitaph to Kaddish and Other Poems).”

Union, Maine – “Blueberry barrens, late March” – photo – Eero Ruuttila

Eero Ruuttila, April 21, 2020, Morrill, Maine


  1. Just two days ago I passed the blueberry barrens and the resist (and peace sign) on my way to fish the St. George river. Small world.

  2. ..a fresh, new sort of…tenderness……make it all easy…..carry the weight of the world etc. etc…… a door ..opening up,all of a sudden, the minute we forgive ourselves & others…….and things , exactly as they are, start making some sense…..

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