At their most fundamental level, the seven chakras represent where energy flows in the body. Controlling elements from love and inner-peace to communication and self-expression, the chakras hold high importance. Spiritual teaching tells us that when these chakras are open, we’re able to tap into our most important qualities, emotions, and methods of connection. Oppositely, blocked chakras can harbor negative emotions and an unfulfilled relationship with the self.
Today, we’re starting with the first chakra: the root chakra. Put simply, this chakra makes up our foundation. Located at the pelvic floor and base of the spine, a healthy root chakra grounds us, establishing a sense of stability and trust. These four poems remind us to stay rooted and to grow from a strong foundation.
“Remember” by Joy Harjo
In this poem, former U.S. Poet Laureate Harjo takes readers back to the basics: their birth, the universe around them, and their interconnectedness with nature. The root chakra typically develops between the ages of 1 and 7, but we can lose sight of its significance, or have it weakened over time by lack of security. That’s why Harjo’s simple message—encouraging readers to remember—stands out as crucial and powerful. By connecting with the Earth, we can return to a dependable, ageless support system.
“Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the / origins of this universe,” Harjo instructs. “Remember you are all people and all people / are you. Remember you are this universe / and this universe is you.”
“Tea” by Leila Chatti
Tunisian-American poet Leila Chatti meditates on tea as a grounding exercise, a reclamation of her culture, and a ritual for self-love. The root chakra concerns itself with survival, a feat Chatti marks by making tea each day and viewing it as a way “to notice joy, / which means survive.”
“Because no one is here / to love me, I make tea for myself / and leave the radio playing. I must / remind myself I am here,” Chatti explains. “And do so / by noticing myself: my feet are cold / inside my socks, they touch the ground, my stomach / churns, my heart stutters, in my hands I hold / a warmth I make. I come from / a people who pray five times a day / and make tea. I admire the way they do / both.”
“Duplex” by Jericho Brown
Pulitzer Prize winner Brown’s poem examines the concept of home through many different angles and experiences. As an early place where we learn either security or neglect, home can play a valuable role in building the root chakra. In “Duplex,” written in his signature form, Brown alludes to an abusive childhood, indicating a traumatized and blocked root chakra. However, the poem allows its speaker to both reclaim and redefine home.
“None of the beaten end up how we began,” Brown asserts. “A poem is a gesture toward home.”
“Hunger Moon” by Jane Cooper
The root chakra considers the elements of survival, like hunger, shelter, and finances, making the title and subject matter of this poem deeply tied. In it, Cooper—a Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellow—contemplates the integral association between herself and nature.
“I am alone in a vast room / …The moon, in pale buckskins, crouches / on guard,” Cooper describes. “Slowly the light wanes, the snow will melt / and all the fences thrum in the spring breeze / but not until that sleeper, trapped / in my body, turns and turns.”