Robert Bringhurst

Gloria, Credo, Sanctus et Oreamnos Deorum


Knowing, not owning.
Praise of what is,
not of what flatters us
into mere pleasure.

Earth speaking earth,
singing water and air,
audible everywhere
there is no one to listen.


Knowing, not owning:
being, not having,
the rags and the blisters
of knowledge we have:

touching the known
and not owning it. Holding
and held by the known,
and released and releasing,

becoming unknowing.
Touching and being
unknowing and knowing,
known and unknown.


Sharpening, honing
pieces of knowledge,
pieces of earth,
and unearthing the knowledge

and planting the knowledge
again. Question
and answer together
inhabit the ground.
This is our offering:
hunger, not anger,
wonder, not terror,
desire, not greed.

Knowing, not owning
the touch of another,
the other’s reluctance,
the incense of fear;

the smell of the horses
in darkness, the thread
of the story, the thread
of the thread of the story;

arrowhead, bowstring,
snare; the breath
going out, the breath 
going all the way out

and half-turning
and waiting there, listening.
Yes. Breath
that is lifted and carried

and entered and left.
Through the doorway of flesh,
the barely invisible
footprints of air.


Killing and eating
the four-footed gods
and the winged and the rooted,
the footless and one-footed

gods: making flesh
of their flesh, thought
from their thought in the form
of the traces they leave,

words from their voices,
music and jewelry
out of their bones,
dreams from their dances,

begging forgiveness,
begging continuance,
begging continuance and forgiveness
from the stones.