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Posted October 26, 2006
Acceptance is a kind of transformation in Bob Miller¿s wonderful prose poem called The Earth Speaks. His subject is the life of the world, the ¿web of life,¿ and his theme unity, the oneness of all periods in history and of all things animate and inanimate. In a series of small sections, Miller writes without judgment of life in all its richness, whether it be of a mall obliterating a beautiful meadow, a pink slip given to the father of a poor family, an angry bull in the ring and the fighter who must kill him or be killed, a person who keeps a large stuffed animal on his lawn, a bleached blond hussy, on her way to the shop, or a communist who has killed for his cause. He writes of sloths (the animal kind), jaguars, crabs, that which is prey and that which is preyed upon. He observes Hug-a-bears, given to children in tough circumstances, a happy custodian who works late at night and whose job, pushing a broom, goes unnoticed. He writes of birds and groceries and clowns and a widow without children, alone with her garden, who says: ¿I am the strawberry. I am the carrot¿I am the tiny green mint¿the sun and the rain¿¿ Miller observes the richness of all life from riverbanks, from a Florida highway, from Cracow, from McDonald¿s. Seeing the history of the earth in each person¿s face, he believes that hope and faith always triumph, that individual death is nothing, and that life overwhelms death. ¿In this life the end is always the beginning of the beginning,¿ he says, and it is this acceptance of death that is most striking. Miller¿s book is informed by Buddhism, Catholicism, Eastern mysticism, particle physics, and Richard Dawkins¿ memes theory, but if you had to label this exuberant tribute to life, you might call it Taoist, because its subject encompasses the force that flows through life, Lao Tse¿s 10,000 things: the universe in its entirety. All events, people, animals, rocks, sand and water are interrelated, Miller observes. In the last lovely section, Coda, he writes: ¿A child runs up the hill, pauses, and looks back expectantly. The child is you. If you run, you can catch up.¿ When you read the newspaper, watch TV or go to the cinema, you can¿t help but be aware of the horrific nature of the problems the world is facing today. This book is relevant to each and every one of them. But this is not a book to gobble. It must be quietly savoured. Enjoy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.