Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth

New Poems

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Color Purple gives us her first new collection of poetry in more than a decade, poems that reaffirm her as “one of the best American writers of today” (The Washington Post).

The forces of nature and the strength of the human spirit inspire the poems in Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth. Alice Walker opens us up to feeling and understanding with poems that cover a broad spectrum of emotions. With profound artistry, Walker searches for, discovers, and declares the fundamental beauty of existence, as she explores what it means to live life fully, to learn from it, and to grow both as an individual and as part of a greater spiritual community.

In “The Same as Gold,” Walker writes of the essence of grief, and of our inherent powers of love and acceptance. In “Everyone Who Works for Me,” Walker considers, with humor and grace, the frenzy that permeates modern life—a frenzy that prevents us from seeing the beauty in everything we do until we step back and take the time to look at and comprehend ourselves and those around us. In “The Love of Bodies,” Walker elegantly expresses the gratitude and tenderness we are capable of feeling for loved ones, living and dead, and the inescapable emotional connections that bind us together.

About Walker’s poetry, America has said, “In the tradition of Whitman, Walker sings, celebrates and agonizes over the ordinary vicissitudes that link and separate all of humankind,” and the same could be said about this astonishing new collection.

Despite
the hunger
we cannot
possess
more
than
this:
Peace
in a garden
of
our own.
—from Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth


Praise for Alice Walker’s poetry

“A sensitive, spirited, and intelligent poet. Feeling is channeled into a style that is direct and sharp....Wit and tenderness combine into humanity.” —Poetry, about Once

“In these poems there’s the power of a mind’s concentrated passion....Walker’s language moves among griefs, loves, hopes....There’s a compassion in the poems that is not only painfully earned but has, each time, to be earned over again—and it is this that gives it its authenticity.” —Denise Levertov, author of Life in the Forest, about Good Night, Willie Lee, I’ll See You in the Morning
Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for her novel The Color Purple. Her other novels include By the Light of My Father’s Smile and Possessing the Secret of Joy. She is also the author of three collections of short stories, three collections of essays, seven volumes of poetry, and several children’s books. Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker now lives in Northern California. View titles by Alice Walker
I Can Worship You

I Can Worship You

I can worship You

But I cannot give You everything.

If you cannot

Adore

This body.

If you cannot

Put your lips

To my

Clear water.

If you cannot

Rub bellies

With

My sun.

The Love of Bodies

Dearest One

Of flesh & bone

There is in

My memory

Such a delight

In the recent feel of your warm body;

Your flesh, and remembrance of the miracle

Of bone,

The structure of Your sturdy knee.

The softness of your belly

Curves

My hand;

Your back

Warms me.

Your tush, seen bottomless,

Is like a small,

Undefended Country

In which is grown Yellow Melons.

It is such a blessing

To be born

Into these;

And what a use

To put

Them to.

To hold,

To cherish,

To delight.

The tree next door

Is losing

Its body

Today.

They are cutting

It down, piece

By heavy piece

Returning,

With a thud,

To The earth.

May she know peace

Eternal Returning to

Her source

And

That her beauty

Lofty

Intimate

With air & fog

Was seen

And bowed to

Until this Transition.

I send love

And gratitude

That Life

Sent you

(And her)

To spend

This time

With me.

After the bombing of 9/11, September 25, 2001
Praise for Alice Walker’s poetry

“A sensitive, spirited, and intelligent poet. Feeling is channeled into a style that is direct and sharp....Wit and tenderness combine into humanity.”
Poetry, about Once

“In these poems there’s the power of a mind’s concentrated passion....Walker’s language moves among griefs, loves, hopes....There’s a compassion in the poems that is not only painfully earned but has, each time, to be earned over again—and it is this that gives it its authenticity.”
—Denise Levertov, author of Life in the Forest, About Good Night, Willie Lee, and I’ll See You in the Morning

“[Alice Walker] is exceptionally brave: She takes on subjects at which most writers would flinch and quail, and probably fail. She shrinks from no moral or emotional complexity....In Walker’s work nothing is ordinary....She is a marvelous writer.”
San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle, about You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down

“Graceful in their spirituality, openness to experience, and rueful humor, Walker’s poems revolve around love and gratitude for the earth.”
Booklist

“The overall effect is that of listening to a wise woman—the ‘apprentice elder’... whose gift to us is a vision of wholeness and delight in the world.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

About

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Color Purple gives us her first new collection of poetry in more than a decade, poems that reaffirm her as “one of the best American writers of today” (The Washington Post).

The forces of nature and the strength of the human spirit inspire the poems in Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth. Alice Walker opens us up to feeling and understanding with poems that cover a broad spectrum of emotions. With profound artistry, Walker searches for, discovers, and declares the fundamental beauty of existence, as she explores what it means to live life fully, to learn from it, and to grow both as an individual and as part of a greater spiritual community.

In “The Same as Gold,” Walker writes of the essence of grief, and of our inherent powers of love and acceptance. In “Everyone Who Works for Me,” Walker considers, with humor and grace, the frenzy that permeates modern life—a frenzy that prevents us from seeing the beauty in everything we do until we step back and take the time to look at and comprehend ourselves and those around us. In “The Love of Bodies,” Walker elegantly expresses the gratitude and tenderness we are capable of feeling for loved ones, living and dead, and the inescapable emotional connections that bind us together.

About Walker’s poetry, America has said, “In the tradition of Whitman, Walker sings, celebrates and agonizes over the ordinary vicissitudes that link and separate all of humankind,” and the same could be said about this astonishing new collection.

Despite
the hunger
we cannot
possess
more
than
this:
Peace
in a garden
of
our own.
—from Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth


Praise for Alice Walker’s poetry

“A sensitive, spirited, and intelligent poet. Feeling is channeled into a style that is direct and sharp....Wit and tenderness combine into humanity.” —Poetry, about Once

“In these poems there’s the power of a mind’s concentrated passion....Walker’s language moves among griefs, loves, hopes....There’s a compassion in the poems that is not only painfully earned but has, each time, to be earned over again—and it is this that gives it its authenticity.” —Denise Levertov, author of Life in the Forest, about Good Night, Willie Lee, I’ll See You in the Morning

Author

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for her novel The Color Purple. Her other novels include By the Light of My Father’s Smile and Possessing the Secret of Joy. She is also the author of three collections of short stories, three collections of essays, seven volumes of poetry, and several children’s books. Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker now lives in Northern California. View titles by Alice Walker

Excerpt

I Can Worship You

I Can Worship You

I can worship You

But I cannot give You everything.

If you cannot

Adore

This body.

If you cannot

Put your lips

To my

Clear water.

If you cannot

Rub bellies

With

My sun.

The Love of Bodies

Dearest One

Of flesh & bone

There is in

My memory

Such a delight

In the recent feel of your warm body;

Your flesh, and remembrance of the miracle

Of bone,

The structure of Your sturdy knee.

The softness of your belly

Curves

My hand;

Your back

Warms me.

Your tush, seen bottomless,

Is like a small,

Undefended Country

In which is grown Yellow Melons.

It is such a blessing

To be born

Into these;

And what a use

To put

Them to.

To hold,

To cherish,

To delight.

The tree next door

Is losing

Its body

Today.

They are cutting

It down, piece

By heavy piece

Returning,

With a thud,

To The earth.

May she know peace

Eternal Returning to

Her source

And

That her beauty

Lofty

Intimate

With air & fog

Was seen

And bowed to

Until this Transition.

I send love

And gratitude

That Life

Sent you

(And her)

To spend

This time

With me.

After the bombing of 9/11, September 25, 2001

Praise

Praise for Alice Walker’s poetry

“A sensitive, spirited, and intelligent poet. Feeling is channeled into a style that is direct and sharp....Wit and tenderness combine into humanity.”
Poetry, about Once

“In these poems there’s the power of a mind’s concentrated passion....Walker’s language moves among griefs, loves, hopes....There’s a compassion in the poems that is not only painfully earned but has, each time, to be earned over again—and it is this that gives it its authenticity.”
—Denise Levertov, author of Life in the Forest, About Good Night, Willie Lee, and I’ll See You in the Morning

“[Alice Walker] is exceptionally brave: She takes on subjects at which most writers would flinch and quail, and probably fail. She shrinks from no moral or emotional complexity....In Walker’s work nothing is ordinary....She is a marvelous writer.”
San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle, about You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down

“Graceful in their spirituality, openness to experience, and rueful humor, Walker’s poems revolve around love and gratitude for the earth.”
Booklist

“The overall effect is that of listening to a wise woman—the ‘apprentice elder’... whose gift to us is a vision of wholeness and delight in the world.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

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