On Earth Day, I asked poets to write either a poem about nature or industry; many poets chose to write about both. Here are the ones that caught my eye.
A Haze over Holland
A haze over Holland
looks yellow and gray.
It comes from machines
of this modern day.
Those noisy leaf blowers,
plus busses and trains;
They all make their noises
and spew smoke like rain.
The brooks that are babbling
speak to no ear.
And the whispering winds
we no longer hear.
Loud honking geese
fly unnoticed, it’s true.
Long gone is the quiet
creation once knew.
So out to the country,
a day trip, I’ll take.
I’ll bask in the sunshine
where life’s not so fake.
I’ll listen to bird calls;
hear rustling leaves.
From the haze over Holland,
I’ll have my reprieve.
Sue Bench |hd_ultra_96AT NOSPAMyahoo dot com
“Rantings of City-Folk”
I care about the Earth
and all that is in it
I really do realize
our only home is this planet
But out lives are much easier
with modern convenience
from the way we lived once
No longer a candle
or oil it need be
A flick of a switch
for incandescence to see
Forget the horse and buggy
or a ship to sail by
Cars go much faster
and planes let us fly
If you truly miss me
a phone is all you need
Better than waiting days on end
for a letter to read
I know the air is harsh
and the water is muck
And we do so much worse
just to save a buck
But I rather like living
in my city today
And I really wouldn’t have it
any other way
Chris Granholm Jr. |chris7baAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com
Western Texas is a desert
so I shouldn’t have been surprised
to see a herd of seven camels
in a field near the highway.
But I had only seen camels
in the zoo and at a live nativity.
I held the image close to me
on the long drive home
with the broken A/C
and the fuel tanker overturned
on the interstate, blocking all lanes.
We, and about a thousand other cars,
took the back roads, clogged them
with our impatience, traffic crawling.
Staff members from the nursing home
next to the road ferried out
cups of water to passengers
mired in sweat and road grit.
As the cool liquid passed my lips,
I thought of camels, seven of them,
their field impossibly green.
Sarah |MusicToKnitToAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com
“Earth Day ‘08”
On the very first Earth Day
my first college girlfriend and I
helped plant trees on the campus.
We were naïve enough to believe
that putting a few saplings in the ground
would help save the planet.
We didn’t do enough – big enough,
hard enough, soon enough.
Now the future is a gamble,
but everyone is going green
because it’s very chic
and a hot-button business.
I did my part today –
walked to the supermarket
instead of taking the hybrid,
but forgot my reusable canvas bags.
Bruce Niedt |jackbugsAT NOSPAMcomcast dot net
Swirling hawk over man-made lake
Seagull of the desert
Dipping and diving
Looking for a single tasty fish
Ever vigilant in his watch
He is master of his domain
Water, land and sky
Satisfied to be soaring now
Looking for just one
Day’s worth of sustenance
Content to live only for today
And let tomorrow take care of itself
Tonya Root |booklet dot geoAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com
Where is the Nature
Not in the lilacs beginning to bud
nor in those three rose tulips–
not in the leaves of the Japanese maple
beginning to unpleat themselves
like small hands made of feathers–
not in the plum blossoms that litter the ground
like yesterday’s leftover snow–
not even in the ravine
where moss climbs the tree trunks
in shadows and paves the road a brilliant green.
You’ll find no wildness here, unless
you can spot the possums, raccoons–
unless you can see the belly of the coyote
who comes out only at night.
Joannie Stangeland |joannieksAT NOSPAMmsn dot com
To get spooked on the lake,
Where deep water meets the bank,
Not near the houses with their sand beaches
Sloping into clear water where matted weeds
Support the squawky little birds that like
To walk on them, not there, but in the brown murky
Water near Leu Gardens where thick ogre fingers reach up
To rake the bottom of the canoe. And when
I look down, their ragged sleeves of moss
Give them so much life that I flinch,
Even knowing they are only
Dead tree branches.
Lyn Sedwick |LASMD925AT NOSPAMaol dot com
Butterflies, ladybugs, bumblebees,
Lend color to the sky like a kaleidoscope.
Hush and hear the hummingbird
Adding his melody to the evening sounds.
Soon the sky will be filled with the twinkle
Of fireflies flitting about.
Living creations on a miniature scale
Painting a moving canvas if we but pause to observe.
Dragonflies, moths, and cicadas too
Wear their camouflage to blend in.
As they move the patterns change
Never the same view but always beautiful.
Iris Deurmyer |mfumcyouthAT NOSPAMsbcglobal dot net
“and then awakening naked
to be tattooed by the rivers”
Rivers all leave their mark
as easily as ink—
your pink flesh stamped
colors shifting in the sunlight
turning muddy brown
when your mind
is troubled with grief.
The pain of the rivers’ needle
will never fade. Each prick,
10,000 tiny stabs, will all
prove unique, seperate pains
& while you lay beneath the stars
rubbing the place they claimed,
the rivers will call to you
& you will remember their many names.
Justin Evans |evjustinAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com
As I drive
rays of sunlight
gray, indifferent clouds.
my passenger’s Jamaican lilt
where are you from.
It’s a lil country town.
No chasing after
where it is.
I dream of
sitting on sandy shores
as blue see-through water
laps at my toes,
with a plate of
balanced on my knees.
Will you ever go back home
No, he says.
We all say
but we don’t.
I suddenly close
as smoky air
I clear my throat
trying to expel
Carla Cherry |cmcmagiconeAT NOSPAMgmail dot com
They were there as we rounded the bend
on the highway, myself not driving so I
had the chance to glimpse them for a
second and turn my head to the right
And the wonder I never quite got
over from seeing their delicate brown
bodies suddenly dart across my vision
filled me with amazement and fueled
my every breath as if watching them
were powering my soul.
Nibbling on the tender grass shoots
their heads down and close to the
earth I felt an intruder in their world.
Heedless of the speeding cars passing
them they dined on their favorite dish.
Dozens crowded the two spaces gathering
together from their hiding places during
the day to appear at twilight as if in a
dream holding still like a Seurrat painting.
Their eyes weren’t visible from the road, but
I remembered close up eyes innocent and
startled staring at me in horror from past
encounters and prayed no eager young fawn
would venture too far off the grass into the
incoming traffic. Nature needs a boundary
to survive these days.
Barbara Ehrentreu |lionmotherAT NOSPAMaol dot com
These days, my clean mugs and dinner plates
spend their drying time in a chrome dish drainer
that glints with pride at its airy and streamlined efficiency,
and where my belts once flopped over the rod,
now they hang, subdued,
on a maple rack near the lightswitch.
There’s a silver basket for soap
stuck with suction cups
to the back corner of the shower,
it is so easy to get clean,
and I’ve wound the hose into respectable coils
on a keeper by the spigot out back.
Little by little, I’m replacing the clunky
ordinariness you left with good design a lá Target.
I can find the paring knife, my spices are all in a rack
and there’s no one home to cook for.
Devon Brenner |devonAT NOSPAMra dot msstate dot edu
I stepped outside
into a spring
I could feel
my pupils shrink.
JL Smither |jlsmitherAT NOSPAMgmail dot com
Spring in the Fred Meyer Parking Lot
So what if the keys are locked in the car,
it’s warm sitting on the hood in the spring sun
and the cherry trees are blossoming, pink popcorn
petals waft by in the breeze, scattered like confetti
on the sidewalk.
The smell of fried chicken permeates
the air, a crow flies by with a French fry
in it’s beak, dusky sparrows peck at weeds
coming up through the pavement, the AAA man
arrives but we are in no hurry.
Kate |kberne50AT NOSPAMhotmail dot com
A Cold Spring
Every year it’s a scheduled surprise
How fast the buds take their leaf shape
From tiny nub to eager crumpling
Of green ready to photosynthesize.
Too fast, as it turns out, this time-
After a cold winter, a colder spring
(It seems)-the pummeling breeze
Snaps the seedlings at their tethers,
The sparrows pretending to be plump,
But only full of frosty air and feathers,
And the pale leaflets hang from meager
Branches while the tiny ice balls
Flail and fall.
Hope Greene |hopeAT NOSPAMhopegreene dot com