An Ode to the Soil

by Claire Crowther ’27 on November 9, 2023


Tonight, I raise a glass to the one who supports me

more than anyone else in my life.

I’ve been supported through struggles and hunger and ills.

I’ve been supported through many a strife.

I’m far from alone in my burdens being borne

by this familiar stranger; why, you’re all supported too!

It’s the reason that you live, you eat, and you thrive.

The reason you were conceived, and the reason you grew.

A supporter of all that we do in this life,

all that we see, smell, and hear.

Supporter of all that we build and we raise.

Supporter of all that we love and we fear.

It supports us in spite of being trodden upon,

constantly abused with great disregard.

It supports us, even when we erode and displace it,

even when we leave it all polluted and scarred.

I’m talking about the soil of course,

in case you couldn’t figure that out.

I can understand your skepticism, though.

After all, you’re not to blame for your doubt.

We’re all raised to call it dirt, and we’re given a perception

that makes us think of it as gross and nothing more.

But in defiance of that dogma, I urge you to recognize,

that soil is far beyond just a filthier floor.

It’s diverse across our world.

It can be dark, two-tone, or pale.

It can be any ratio of gravel, silt, or sand.

It can be resilient or even quite frail.

A home to millions of microorganisms.

Where worms and insects hail from.

Where tree roots roam and beasties burrow,

among cacophonies of mycelium.

This spectacle of strata, it shapes our common home,

for soil is our foundations’ great foundation.

A product of gravity, the Original Architect,

it supports all of mankind’s creation.

For centuries it has been the cradle of our crops.

To where all flora and fauna return.

It provides us with all that we could ever need,

to continue to grow and to learn.

I hope you concur with me in this commendation

of mankind’s prevailing yet unsung hero.

We owe so much of our lives to the soil ‘neath our feet.

Without it, our chances of survival would be zero.

So as I raise this toast and bring this ode to a close,

I invite you to keep this speech in the back of your mind,

so that wherever you go, whatever you see, smell, and hear,

you remember to thank the soil for mankind.