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I Too Drink Deeply of the Water of My Birthplace – Luke Hunter

“I submitted, yielded, obeyed to possess and be possessed, by place.” -Sam Libby This is, without a doubt, high art in the tradition of the English language’s greatest epic poems (read: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘Aurora Leigh,’ John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost,’ etc.) Like these authors imbued to their specific pasts and places, Sam has also created something specific to his borders of time and space, which is concurrently able to possess a sort of ineffable recognition of human nature’s cyclical course. A wheel of life. From Milton’s wondrous garden to Browning’s Italian vistas and wandering London streetscapes, we come to Sam – who will forever drink deeply of the water of his birthplace. So much is revealed – with equal parts compassion and malice – that the pervasively spiritual tone of Jah DEP becomes a duality in its own right. No strict heroes, no strict villains – even when the heroes and villains are very real. We live in a world constantly at odds with itself and its best intentions, which makes it all the more important to recognize our collective plight in this reality and stop the narrowing selfishness of human beings before it absolves us permanently from our privilege to live. I have had another sort of privilege just in getting to know Sam, and crossing paths with him many years ago. His poem’s influence on me now comes as no surprise given his influence on me then. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received, during a teenage existential crisis, came from Sam. Feeling trapped, and unable to relate on the same perceptual plane as others, I felt lost in my awareness of both self and others; and not knowing what to do with the abundance of information, I froze up. How would I move forward? Do I continue? How do we keep going, not knowing the origins of this crazily beautiful dream we all share? He reminded me, in his truly insightful way, that all I needed to do was participate. Be present and available to self and others. Do the thing. “Ya gotz to jump in der and dance da dance – wid dynamic uncertainty.” “Revel in joy because it’s joy?” I asked him. “…that makes sense.” His response was pragmatic, as always. “Sure beats da alternative…” I’m still going Sam, strong as ever and as present as ever. I too drink deeply of the water of my birthplace. -Luke Hunter  

I too drink deeply of the water of my birthplace. -Luke Hunter  

Sam Libby

Sam Libby (a.k.a. Rabbi SchmuDawg) currently resides in Terranas, Dominican Republic and is completing a collection of Central American stories entitled 'The Gonzo/Kukalcan Papers', to be published in spring 2021.

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