The sky gave me its heart
because it knew mine was not large enough to care
for the earth the way
–Rabia of Basra
This is the first stanza of the poem “The Sky Gave Me Its Heart” by Rabia of Basra (Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West translated by Daniel Ladinsky, p.9). One way of viewing the phrase “to care for the earth” is to see the earth as a referent to the planet and its environment. However, I think Rabia is speaking about the people and creatures that live on the earth. She could say, “God gave me His heart” instead, but using a nature symbol gives the line its own unique beauty while letting the sky allude to God as well.
The sky, like God, tenderly embraces the earth and its inhabitants (good and evil alike) without judgment. Our hearts are too small to care for others properly. We need bigger hearts. We need to expand our love. We need to include more of creation in our circle of love. Rabia’s stanza inspired me to write the following poem:
in the red sunset
from the sky
Linked with Thought-Provoking Thursday.