A note from Judy Steinbergh


Thanks to all writers who participated in the July 2014 Poetry Workshop: Caring for Our Earth sponsored by The Charlotte Hobbs Library, the Greater Lovell Land Trust, and Hewnoaks Artist Colony.  These poems evolved from a morning of reading, thinking, and writing about aspects of the natural world.

Poet Judy Steinbergh leading participants through readings of nature poetry before they set off to write there own.

Poet Judy Steinbergh leading participants through readings of nature poetry before they set off to write there own.

Below you will find a sampling of the poems written at Hewnoaks.



        by Susan W. Golder


 A still lake in quiet slumber


lifts its gossamer veil of mist,

 laps a gentle ripple,

      then a rhythmic flow . . .

a hypnotic refrain.


Fish twirl.

Trees hum.

A distant loon sends a tide of tremolos.

In silent witness, I wait; I listen . . . 

Then suddenly, in that space, I catch the call.






My paddle, slow and steady, leads me into the circle of morning’s song.




        by Heinrich Wurm


Frozen layers of grey,

playmates of the wind.

Rolling across mountain peaks,

shaped by forces beyond us.

Threatening to some,

salvation to others.

Buffering sunlight,

dowsing a plain -

mantle of the universe.




            by Susan Welchman


wood thrush sings

july sun grows raspberries

hear breeze

when we stop singing





by  Jo Radner 


There’s an art to it. It’s all about control.

Pick a thin, smooth, flat stone.

Cradle it on your middle finger.  Thumb on top.  Gentle, firm.

Curl your sensitive forefinger around the edge.

That’s for control.

Lower the stone parallel to the lake’s surface

close, but not touching.

Cock your wrist back,

flip and release, spin stone off that forefinger

till it twirls and kisses the water,

dances skip skip skip skip skip skip skip skip



We’re good at this art.

We compete.

Who finds the best stone?

Who skips the most?

We know how to win.


My son’s fingers search the sand.

Round pebbles.  No use.

A mussel shell.  (They skip, but not as well as stones.)

And then,

just under the sand,

a stone that feels


Thin edges. A little belly to skim the water.

Perhaps a little too long?

Perhaps too hard to control?


He holds it out on his palm

and my breath


This is no random stone for our game.

In my son’s hand lies an Abenaki spearhead

dark green flint flecked with yellow

a hunter’s tool

scarcely dulled by centuries



Too long.

Too hard to control.

Sharp enough to reach the heart.

Not to be skipped.




        by Christa Wurm


From a distance

the talon of an owl is



a sleek instrument, smooth and dedicated.

Zooming in, however, you’ll notice

the cracked tip, the shredded side,

the chip missing.  Ragged and used, unfit

for our definition of beauty.

Yet it still serves, still spells death

for the soft-skinned creatures of the






            by Anna Romer


My paper home will be destroyed.

Its safe thin walls,

its dark small hallways,

its watertight chambers.

No more happy humming,

No more sharing of food and sex and offspring.

The shaking of the ground,

The roar of the saw,

The screeching of the crow,

The fleeing of the squirrel,

They tell me my paper home will be destroyed.





        by Leigh Macmillen Hayes


The hillside beside

the road,

Overpopulated with trees and weedy plants.

A wasteland.

Or is it?

It is a neighborhood

supporting a million lives

from springtails that jump on fallen leaves

and bees that visit each flowerhead

to deer and moose who dine

on the berries' seedy fruits

and tree buds and bark.

A place

for wonder and awe

where miracles happen.



            by Judith Steinbergh


What is it that makes us love wild things?

That after long patience and a kind of thirst,

after speculating on the slap of water, whir of wings,

out of the grainy dusk, some wild creature bursts

from the forest. Before we focus on its shape,

almost before it can be named,

it twists back, leaps, makes its escape.

Whatever it was, we know it can’t be tamed.


Do we want the whole deer quivering under our gaze,

the fox frozen as a statue in its track?

No. Only the glaze of eyes, the lightning bolt of legs,

the otter’s wake. We want the power to attract

wildness. To be skimmed, sensed, not faced.


We want to love wildness, to feel that we’ve been graced.

Poets finding a quiet place to write.

Poets finding a quiet place to write.

Sharing poems.

Sharing poems.