Alan: I don’t suppose it was a bad workshop, really, but the title was an irritant that stimulated, if not a pearl, at least a rejoinder. Dick and Jane and their wretched dog plagued beginning readers from the 1930s through the 1970s. I was so bored with them that I didn’t learn to read until my mother took me in hand, half way through third grade, and showed me that books could be interesting.
Workshop: How To Craft A Nature Poem
First, find some nature.
Bring it indoors –
quickly, before it dries
or blows away
or is rained sodden.
Lay it out on the table.
Sit down. Look.
For a full three minutes
(feel free to use a timer).
Now pull out some words,
e.g. “sticks,” “coyote,” “raven,”
“cloud.” Shape the
sticks etc. into a container
(don’t worry if it’s rough);
fill it with dirt (everyone likes
a little dirt), some blood –
what is Nature, if not boinking
and chomping? – and top
with your present emotion.
Smooth and polish
(this may take awhile).
Notice, to your surprise,
the sunlight through the window,
just like second grade,
when Dick and Jane swam
weakly before you and Spot
would run! run! and you
yourself wanted desperately
to run away outside
Nancy: There’s always a day when I realize “this is it,” as the world around me shifts; the time for bargaining is past, the time for acceptance has come.
In Morning Light
All summer too much
seemed no more than enough. Until
last night: the stars grew suddenly
so sharp and fierce that I wanted
to hide myself, to sit under a blanket,
This morning I see
how one vole, fat and careless,
is enough for the harrier. I see
the hummingbird, which should be gone,
embraced in the honeysuckle, which should be gone.
I see the blind dog stretched in delight
in the trapezoid of morning sun
on the kitchen floor.
Against everything ripe and sere, the asters
are an incomprehensible purple.
One more day, I think,
one more day is enough.