Monday, March 21, 2016

Poems of the Week ~ Eco-Poems by Bjorn, De and Hannah

We have a feature close to my heart today, my friends. We are showcasing three excellent eco-poems by Bjorn Rudberg, of  Bjorn Rudberg's Writings, De Jackson, of whimzygizmo's blog, and Hannah Gosselin, who writes at Metaphors and Smiles. Their poems work together very well to take us out into the streams and fields. We can walk through the forest, visit wildlife, and experience the difficulties nature encounters these days, the human footprint having such a devastating impact. I hope you enjoy the work of these three very fine poets.





Our friend Bjorn


Sherry: Bjorn's poem "Still Life From a Silent Spring" had me right from the title, which references Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

Here is a photo Bjorn snapped, of a springtime walk he took last spring, to get us right in the mood for his beautiful poem. Enjoy!




STILL LIFE FROM A SILENT SPRING

I.
Crushed by a boot
the marigold’s nectar
will never feed the bees.

II.
Rain flushed through
drainpipes
will school the one-finned fish.

III.
After turning up the heat –
brimstone acid
burns both leaves and lungs.

IV
In the shadow of a tree
a fawn is waiting
for the doe at gunpoint.

V
I scribble poetry
on paper heartbeats
from a dying forest.

copyright Bjorn Rudberg January 26, 2016

Sherry: Your poem makes me feel for the plight of the bees, the fawn waiting for its mother, and, especially, that last stanza, your poem written on "paper heartbeats from a dying forest." Wow.

Bjorn: ... It's an honor to have a poem shared. A few words about the poem:

This poem was written for a challenge on eco-poetry. To write something for something that I care so much about was a real challenge, as I find it really hard to write about something I care about so much without being judgmental or sappy.

I decided to collect some really simple scenes in the form of three line stanzas, that would describe the terrible things we do to nature in a detached way. Rather show and not tell. In this poem I am especially satisfied with the title that plays with the double meaning with both "still life" which could both mean something dead or still life in the meaning of hope. Silent spring was intended to give a reference to Rachel Carson. 

Sherry: You accomplished your objective to perfection, Bjorn. That is always a good aim: to show and not tell. I love the reference to Rachel Carson. The closing lines of the poem especially made me think: of the trees, our waste, (of paper and everything else). It really hit home in a big way. Thank you for this poem, which has great impact, the more so for its brevity. Well done.

Let's take a look at De Jackson's wonderful poem, "Of Limbs, and Liquid Skin", whose ending made me catch my breath.





of limbs, and liquid skin


O, Tree. I know the quiet ache
of leavings,
shedding selves.
I, too, have felt
bruised, used.
O, Ocean. I feel your heartbeat
under my own skin,
the ebb and flow of spring.
The scorch of sun.
The pull of moon.
O, Earth. I hold the buzz
of bee in the bumbled cage of my un
-quiet heart, this strangled birdsong
behind my own tired teeth.
Sorrow comes
with the knowing;
our bruisings,
our misusings.
For today, I will raise my arms
and float, let my voice fly
on fluid wings.
 copyright De Jackson, January 26, 2016


Sherry: This is really breathtaking: "the buzz of bee in my own unquiet heart", the "strangled birdsong behind my own tired teeth". And then the hope in the lifting of arms, and letting your voice fly. Sigh. I love the power in this. Love your photo, too, kiddo!

De: I have always felt a deep connection to the earth, seeing my Creator best through his incredible creation. I write often of tree, and ocean, and sky (especially that wily moon). This was my first official foray into “eco-poetry,” though. In the leavings, in the salt, in the birdsong…I like to remember that there is always, always hope. For the earth. For us.

Sherry: Yes, we must always hope, and hold the vision of a sustainable earth. I remember an activist friend of mine saying "Mother Earth feels your pain. Let her feel your joy, too." That stuck with me.

Hannah had a  close encounter with wildlife recently that was very painful for her. Her eulogy is filled with the love of nature for which  her work is so well known. I love its title, "Of Seeing", because Hannah is one who truly sees nature, close-up and personal, and brings the vision to us through her poems. 


Hannah

Of Seeing


I guess the trouble with seeing is that when I really begin to see – I care
but I can’t curse the day I counted – I worry about pigeons knowing their numbers
there’re twenty-three of them – twenty-three perched there daily
about the family of five ducks – now I look for each silent V trailing behind them
and crying guy in his car in the parking lot of a bank – I cry with him.

Maybe it’d help if there was some Karmic-Book of life equivalency
chart that would surely show how many lives equal that of another –
how many mostly frozen earth worms gathered from tar and relocated
yes, those and does the cold unidentifiable gray worm creeping slowly
and the dog and cat I rescued count toward cosmic debt?

This spring as sapling begin their seed-warmed tendril-crawl
as they reach for rain and fresh green light
growing among them will be your contribution
acorns never found will rise from the sun-warmed ground
here and there – strategically hidden they’ll become

mighty and tall – Oaks with a secreted note on their souls
your name will be written within – pure energy wishing for survival.
I hope they’ll grow to be as brilliant as the one whose roots cradle your body
now – under a careful quilt of leaves and sticks you rest
resigned by design of mankind – my wheels were too, fast

my mind was too, busy and I didn’t see you quickly enough.
Tears fell unrestrained as I sobbed my sorry over your grave
I pressed my right hand to Nature’s tiny blanket that I’d arranged
but it could not, nor did I want it to, hide your magnificent tail
slate-silver-downy-fur alive in morning’s wind. I sent prayers to appease my grief

for I’m sure that you didn’t need them – beautiful gray squirrel
and God wasn’t going to strike me down with lightning over this mistake
but regardless of my making peace with this unfortunate moment
rivulets of emotion coursed a sudden river on my neck while I drove
blurry-eyed and stopped at stop signs – did drivers and walkers see – wonder?

Have I left an impression on their perfectly-imperfect day?
Later will they remember as they chew their lunch of salad greens
as they move garlic croutons around with a poised fork
will they ask themselves who was that crying girl
will their hearts break a little, too – eyes briefly pool?


Copyright © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2011-16



Sherry: I was riveted to every single word, Hannah. I love that you know exactly how many birds are on the wire, that you assist worms, that you bury dead squirrels, with prayers. I love the title, "Of Seeing", especially, as you do truly see nature, from the smallest to the biggest, and you love it all with such an open and appreciative heart.

Hannah: Of Seeing is an outpouring of several incidences all pooled into one poem, but the focus was definitely on the gray squirrel. I believe this is the first time I was the one controlling wheels that became an unfortunate end to a squirrel life. Luckily squirrels have come into my life in other, happier ways, too.

Last spring there were a pair of baby squirrels born on our property, they were so fun to watch – chasing each other around tree trunks and tagging one another before darting away. They’re such playful and hard-working animals. I see a message about balance in them. :)

Another squirrel serendipity is that lately I’ve been watching a program called Animal Odd Couples and in one episode the pairing was a squirrel and a Saint Bernard. Witnessing this orphaned squirrel being raised by humans from a tiny-hairless baby to a healthy adult, (hiding nuts in the house and in the dog’s fur), caused me to realize that animals can interrelate with other species and grow deep bonds as well.

There're so many amazing beings to be in awe of and to carry compassion for. When we begin to really see that we’re all One-breathing-creature and One-beating-heart – it’s impossible to unsee this kind of Truth. 

Sherry: I wish everyone could know that - that we truly are all connected, one beating heart. Sigh. So lovely. You have such a compassionate heart, Hannah, and such a love for Mother Earth and all her creatures. Bless you for caring so much.

Thank you, my three talented friends, for allowing me to feature your poems, each of which leaves us feeling closer to nature and, thus, uplifted.

Well, kids? I hope your heart was touched by the beauty of these offerings, and the caring hearts of the poems' creators. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


23 comments:

  1. Truly outstanding poems I must say, and the inspiration behind each one is almost as interesting as the finished works. I admire it all and Its very nice of you to have shared it all, thank you!

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  2. Thank you so much for this amazing share, Sherry. I can't tell you how honored I am to be featured alongside two of my favorite poets, Hannah and Bjorn. :) Bjorn's "paper heartbeats" have resonated with me since I first read his piece, and no one rival's Hannah's heart for nature. Her very soul shines like those "Oaks with a secreted note on their souls." I am enchanted and inspired by them both.

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    1. Truly the I have to say the same about Hannah and you.

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    2. De, my poetic sister!! Thank you, so much...Your salted skin and dance with limbs and the song of pain and beauty...your words and heart sing with such authenticity.

      Bjorn, your poem and your commentary are enthralling and intriguing...I love the two ways your title can be read and the approach of showing in your poignant brevity three line approach...small breaths - glimpses of nature. Your closing is perfect!

      Thank you, two for doing this...it's been such a treat...thank you, Sherry for bringing this together so gracefully!

      :)'s

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  3. First of all, it's a wonderful moment to share eco-poetry when the world is once again reborn in our Northern Hemisphere... No silent spring at all... This turned out to be such a good collection where the poems complement each other... This is what I would like to see in a true poetry collection.

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  4. Yes, I love how these poems work together to give the reader an experience of walking on the wild side for a few moments.......if I had time, I could mine our poets for eco poems and do an anthology. But sadly, my writing to do list will likely outlive me, LOL. Typing as fast as I can!!!!!!

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  5. What a wonderful collection of inspiring poetry! Thank you, Sherry. Thank you, Bjorn, De, and Hannah...these are poems to savor!

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  6. Sherry this was a treat....the environment, nature are so important to me, and as you know my biggest muse. What a delight to read each of these incredible poems reminding us we are all part of nature and need to show it the respect it deserves. Thanks for your inspiration Bjorn, De and Hannah!

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  7. Wow, wow, wow!!! These poems are full of compassion for endings and I felt them all. Thank you, dear poets, and the equally visionary Sherry!

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  8. Really enriching collection to read! Thank you, all!

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  9. These poems are a gem to read Sherry ~ I love the eco-poetry prompt that brought out so many wonderful poems to read and share ~ I agree, we should have a collection of all the eco-poems ~ Thanks for featuring the poems of these 3 wonderful poets that I admire Sherry ~

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    1. I know - an anthology is begging to be compiled....that prompt at dVerse was wonderful - it produced such glorious poems. Maybe someday one of us will have time to pursue this idea. It is a good one. It would SELL!

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    2. It's the time lacking... but I so remember the prompt and how many great poems that came out of it...

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  10. I love each one of these beautiful poems....thank you for sharing this Sherry. What a treat and a wonderful collection!

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  11. I loved your post today...loved the poems!

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  12. What a blooming display of heart, word and humility - I love how each poet beautifully explores the world - their place in it and the magic of being able to transcribe it and share it on paper..in words..that's what the best of poets..and people can hope to do..going outside is in all senses is no mean feat and it is admirable to see it here - thanks to all involved in today's feature

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  13. These three very gifted poets have been and are great sources of inspiration to me! Truly lovely examples!

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  14. Thank you all so very much for your generous comments.

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  15. Thanks Sherry for highlighting these 3 gems, in deep contemplation of our gifts from nature.

    Much love.

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  16. Fantastic x3! And so perfect for the season.

    @Björn, the last stanza of your poem made me want to cry. So sad. So true. You've done such a great job at poetizing the pain and the loss.

    @De, there is so much empowerment in recognizing the value of our scars. Thank you for the reminder. And for giving a voice to the green.

    @Hannah, yes, your speaker has left an impression for everyone to see (and feel, I hope).

    Sherry, this was just wonderful. ♥

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  17. This is such a supportive and heart-warming community of poets! I'm inspired so often by reading all of your poems and it has been such an honor to be featured for this eco-poetry event. Thank you, so much, Sherry for bringing this together...it's an honor to be featured with two poets that I look up to so much! Awesome writing De and Bjorn...your works have moved me deeply, so emotive and earth-connected - awe-inspired.

    :)'s warmly to all @ the Poets United poetry home.

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  18. Thank you all again, so much. Humbled and thankful to be part of this great post.

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