This poem weaves together contrasting themes; that of our deepest heart, which feels the intimacy of all things, and the walls the mind constructs, which separates all things. This paradox is contextualized by the Heart Sutra with its revelation of a seamless world, and the Bitter Almond Hedge, planted around Cape Town by early European Settlers in their attempt to keep Africa out. As the hedge became internalized, eventually birthing Apartheid, it inflicted a devastating wound against human sensitivity, empathy and justice. This denial of our profound interconnectedness is now moving to its horrific conclusion in the Global Apartheid of a macro Petro-Empire which rages against the Earth and her magnificent and bounteous species. Throughout the poem we hear the haunting voice of the 1st Nation San as their decimated spirits roam landscapes, left lonely, without the great herds of wildlife. As we glimpse the majestic beauty of these ancient lands, we are encouraged to reclaim our wounded souls and hearts. We are also implored to resist the march of ecocide, before it is too late. While this poem reaches back into the mists of time, it also offers vision and hope for our perilous age. Ultimately, it is a rallying call for a revolution that places Heart and Earth foremost, and central, so a more conscious world can be fully birthed.
Thanissara is Anglo/Irish and originally from London. She was a Buddhist nun for 12 years in the Forest School of Ajahn Chah and has taught meditation internationally the last 25 years. She is co-founder of Dharmagiri, a small meditation center in the Southern Drakensberg in South Africa which also initiates and supports local community engagement projects. Thanissara currently resides between South Africa and the USA. www.dharmagiri.org