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.
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.
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.
dowsing a plain -
mantle of the universe.
by Susan Welchman
wood thrush sings
july sun grows raspberries
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.
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.)
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 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
Overpopulated with trees and weedy plants.
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.
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.