Liz’s Weekend Poetry Series: Nature

by lizard

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
—Edward Abbey

Labels kinda suck. I mean, what the hell is a nature poem anyway? To say the poems I’ve selected for this week’s LWPS are nature poems really limits the potential of the poems themselves, and that’s not something I want to do.

The natural world is the unpredictable, inescapable, all-encompassing planetary environment that we as human beings separate and define in order to create the illusion of control where there is none.

That control of nature is ultimately impossible won’t stop the exploitation we all participate in from continuing. With Earth First! looking to conclude their Round River Rendezvous in the Lolo National Forest, I figured a few poems touching on our human relationship to the earth would be nice. Enjoy.

[APPARENTLY THE WASPS]

Apparently wasps
work all their only summer at the nest,
so that new wasps work
all their only summer at the nest,
et cetera.

All my lizards lost their tails, mating.
Six green snakes ate all my frogs.
Butterflies do very odd things with their tongues.

There seems to be no escaping it.
I planted nine tomato plants and water them.
I replaced my rotten stoop with a
clean Fir block.

Twelve new poems in less than a week!

—Lew Welch

*

MOISTURE IN THE AIR STILL FROM YESTERDAY’S STORM

where I stand
on snail’s silver trail
shielded from noon
by long minutes of song
and a certainty
that every beginning
will end in this world.
I want to mend spirits
and dream again,
to fly to tomorrow
and dance in my shawl.
I remember how it lifted,
sun-faces looking up,
to watch your monumental tremor,
your shaking mesquite,
sharp yucca quivering in the sky,
scarecrow dancing
on the purple horizon.

—Wendy Rose

*

THE MINIMAL

I study the lives on a leaf: the little
Sleepers, numb nudgers in cold dimensions,
Beetles in caves, newts, stone-deaf fishes,
Lice tethered to long limp subterranean weeds,
Squirmers in bogs,
And bacterial creepers
Wriggling through wounds
Like elvers in ponds,
Their wan mouths kissing the warm sutures,
Cleaning and caressing,
Creeping and healing.

—Theodore Roethke

*

REMEMBER

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember.

—Joy Harjo

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