A Pagan's Blog

A Pagan's Blog


In Praise of Nature Poetry

posted by Gus diZerega

Nature poetry is important in helping us reconnect with the living earth, an experience even some Pagans have not personally experienced (yet). National Poetry Month is a fine time to reflect on this, and share some poems.  

Our society relates to nature as a sociopath relates to others, and with as much justification. And this is as painful to those of us who have connected with nature as far more of us find when we experience the callous indifference of sociopaths.  But most of us are not sociopaths. 

Many of us have been led to to believe nature is inert and in itself meaningless, but we retain the capacity to see differently, if we have the opportunity and the courage.  Only we never think to use it.  That situation is rather like when so many white Americans were long socialized to regard their Black neighbors as less than fully human.  Evidence to the contrary abounded, but was not perceived.


Once we are taught to take certain things for granted most of us perceive only what we think we already know.  It is a kind of hypnotism.  Learning to see in new ways is difficult.  When a whole culture, like the South, was founded and took its meaning from a world view that dehumanized others, change is painful and slow.  But it has happened for many.

The leaders of modern culture do the same thing with nature that Southern leaders(and not just Southern leaders) did with respect to how Whites experienced Blacks.  And here is where nature poetry comes in.

Great art teaches us to perceive in new ways, ways that capture the interior meaning of an event or place or person. Nature poetry does this for the natural world, helping us see it with new eyes.  I offer three here, but there is so much more.  Perhaps some of you will offer some as well.

Robinson Jeffers wrote 

The storm blowing up. Rain and dark weather and the
    roaring wind,
And the gulls making their storm-dance -
They fly low mostly, but now they have gone up into the
    sky,
Whirling and dancing, the common sea gulls,
Believe me, there is nothing there for your hungry beaks,
    no little fish,
No floating corpses, it is all a waste desert of air.
High in the air -
Gray wings and white, floating over the storm,
What are you doing?  There is no food up there.  – For
    pure beauty of the storm -
They feel the beauty of things – as we do – they give
    Their flying hearts t it – their wing-borne hungers . . .

And from John Daniel

Return
When at one in the morning a raccoon
rustles out of the brush
and rises on hind legs peering
like a bear at my lamplit window,
swaying slightly, forelegs out-thrust,
then drops and walks its lumbering walk
into darkness, for a moment
I am wholer than before -
as if joined with the self
I am always losing, who is curious
and curiously sure. Who embraces
all things in its calm regard,
never troubles itself
with forethought of death, and always
in the black light of darkness
sees its slow-stepping way.

And finally, from Terry Tempest Williams 

The great silences of the desert are not void of sound.
    but void of distractions.
One day, this landscape will take
    the language out of me.



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Troy Camplin

posted April 9, 2009 at 8:53 pm


Mountain Lakes
In the West the lakes are all true dark blue –
They open pools of sky between the peaks –
A blue of open sky, a blue so true
You feel the lake emerge – the blue, it speaks.
It is not the blue of a turquoise rock.
It is not the blue we see in the sky.
It is not the blue of an endless flock
Of mountain bluebirds preparing to fly.
It is blue like the blue on the border
Of blue and indigo in a rainbow,
A circular blue and endless order
That makes the soul merge in its endless flow.
It is the blue of an Indian sapphire,
And it fills the heart with the same desire.



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Hecate Demetersdatter

posted April 10, 2009 at 9:22 am


The Chance To Love Everything by Mary Oliver
All summer I made friends
with the creatures nearby —
they flowed through the fields
and under the tent walls,
or padded through the door,
grinning through their many teeth,
looking for seeds,
suet, sugar; muttering and humming,
opening the breadbox, happiest when
there was milk and music. But once
in the night I heard a sound
outside the door, the canvas
bulged slightly —something
was pressing inward at eye level.
I watched, trembling, sure I had heard
the click of claws, the smack of lips
outside my gauzy house —
I imagined the red eyes,
the broad tongue, the enormous lap.
Would it be friendly too?
Fear defeated me. And yet,
not in faith and not in madness
but with the courage I thought
my dream deserved,
I stepped outside. It was gone.
Then I whirled at the sound of some
shambling tonnage.
Did I see a black haunch slipping
back through the trees? Did I see
the moonlight shining on it?
Did I actually reach out my arms
toward it, toward paradise falling, like
the fading of the dearest, wildest hope —
the dark heart of the story that is all
the reason for its telling?



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Ali

posted April 10, 2009 at 3:25 pm


The Winter Rain
The leveling of the water, its increase,
the gathering of many into much:
in the cold dusk I stop
midway of the creek, listening
as it passes downward
loud over the rocks, under
the sound of the rain striking,
nowhere any sound
but the water, the dead
weedstems soaked with it, the
ground soaked, the earth overflowing.
And having waded all the way
across, I look back and see there
on the water the still sky.
- Wendell Berry



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Cassaundra

posted April 13, 2009 at 3:41 pm


a fragment of Walt Whitman,
Press close barebosomed night!Press close magnetic nourishing night!
Night of south winds! Night of the large few stars!
Still nodding night! Mad naked summer night!
Smile O voluptuous coolbreathed earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!
Earth of departed sunset! Earth of the mountains misty-topt!
Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Far-swooping elbowed earth! Rich apple-blossomed earth!
Smile! for your lover comes!



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Edward R. Mortimer

posted April 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm


Leave The Oil In The Soil
Leave the oil in the soil,
the land and oceans we did spoil,
from pollution we must recoil,
we cannot continue to despoil,
and mix toxins to moil and roil,
for our water will start to boil,
then we’ll lose all our topsoil,
and all our dreams will uncoil,
while politics continues to embroil,
in a mortal economic turmoil,
the corporate takeover we must foil,
or we’ll be buried in the subsoil,
like a gargoyle with a trefoil,
we’ll wait through Nature’s toil,
as She turns us all into oil.
Leave the oil in the soil,
or from us, Nature will recoil.



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celestial elf

posted September 28, 2009 at 3:57 am


Wonderful to stumble across this pagan poetic celebration of nature.
I am inviting the authors of these works, and any other poetic souls,
to join the newly opened online group for celebrating the sacred in poetry
Celestial Elf poetry group here
http://celestialelf.ning.com/
Bright Blessings
_/\_



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A Kershaw Knives Man

posted August 9, 2010 at 6:01 pm


Inspiring!!!! I couldn’t agree more when you said,”Once we are taught to take certain things for granted most of us perceive only what we think we already know. It is a kind of hypnotism. Learning to see in new ways is difficult.” People are creatures of habit…very stubborn. It’s hard to get others to see that.



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rahul

posted December 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm


its so nice poetry,i love to read it again.its nice work.



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Black Lights

posted February 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm


In our time we often neglect and forget that we are in commune with nature and that indifference has resulted in nature becoming violent in order to correct itself. We must get back into the natural order of things.



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Harish K Thakur

posted October 6, 2011 at 5:02 am


The Banyan Tree

On a hot summer day
The huge banyan tree
Shelters the scorched frames
Reminiscent of the time
Spent in your lap
Your curls and locks raining love

A sparrow’s eye
Pricks the passionate boy
Who has given away

Snakes licentious
Frisk away in the night of hawks
To copulate in the cornfields
And meet the ultimate

In a distant field
A farmer lashes the spines
Bulls furrow deep
Sowing the seeds of life



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