Archives for posts with tag: conservation

Image
Grey (doesn’t always) Matter
by Jacque Stukowski

G is for this dull grey April day.

The blanket of solid clouds as far as the eye can see, dampens my mood severely. Even just a thought of small ray of May sunshine gives me the tiniest glimmer of hope that my grey-matter is so desperately in need of now.

As I sit staring out at the frigid, icy waters of the Fox River, the ducks seem immune to the dark slate skies. The Mergansers are back in town, and as the dive and duck under the cool semi-flowing waters, they seem glad to be back to this river they call home. Their quacks tell me that spring is coming soon-but not today.

The horizon speaks of what looms, yet those dark gloomy storm clouds can’t suppress the many signs that spring is near.

The ducks arrival on the river, small buds forming on the trees, birds chirping happy sounds, the cool crisp Northern air smell sweet like spring dew.

Even while my mood is somber from the blanket of grey overhead, I wrap myself up in these other signs of spring, knowing that even the forecasted winter storm can’t get me down!

The signs are clear SPRING IS NEAR!

Signs of hope, but only if we look and listen quietly to see the signs…

Today, my hope came in the form of a quack, quacking!

Thanks to the playful splashing of Merganser ducks, I’m smiling
those clouds of
 grey away because May is almost here!

PHOTO: “Common Mergansers, Fox River, Illinois” by JPatR, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jacque Stukowski‘s blog God[isms] is her personal space to vent and share stories of growth through life’s ups and downs living with BP and ADHD. It’s a place where her writing and photos collide with spirituality, a dash of 12 steps, and a sprinkle of the daily trials of being a Christian wife, mother of two boys, and a full-time graphic designer. She frequently uses metaphors and symbolism to connect the reader to real life things in nature to convey the message she’s writing about.

Image
WHAT WE NEED IS HERE
by Wendell Berry

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

SOURCE: “What We Need Is Here” appears in The Collected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1957-1982 (North Point Press, 1987), available at Amazon.com.

PHOTO: “Geese in Flight, Oregon” by Catia Juliana. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wendell Berry is a novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. A prolific author, he has written dozens of novels, short stories, poems, and essays. He is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a recipient of The National Humanities Medal, and the Jefferson Lecturer for 2012. He is also a 2013 Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berry has been named the recipient of the 2013 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.

Image
CROSSING THE STREET IN LAGUNA BEACH
by John Gardiner

Thank you for not killing me in the metal-grilled cross-hairs
of your monstrous SUV as I crossed the street
cautiously, in full view, in daylight, in the crosswalk
where I thought I had a lawful right to be
and indeed once did in a different, slower world
when I could meander and even take a peek upward
at a trail of pelicans
or outward at a glorious pod of dolphins,
but now I must deal with the likes of you
as you fight for space, wrecking the world
with anger
and the awful weight of your toys.

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Gardiner has published 10 collections of poetry and his work has appeared in numerous anthologies, journals, and magazines, including two anthologies of California Poets (Tebot Bach), Spillway, The Sacred Beverage Press, Speakeasy, Write Bloody, Moon Tide Press, Poetry Flash (Berkeley), Windflower Press, California Poetry Quarterly, Art Life, and The Comstock Journal. In addition to hundreds of featured readings in the U.S., Gardiner has also performed in Russia, The Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Ireland, and Brazil. He tours in a rock ‘n roll Shakespeare show called Shakespeare’s Fool, and has facilitated poetry readings, slams, and workshops in Laguna Beach for the past 16 years. Gardiner teachers drama, Shakespeare, and oral presentation for the Gifted Students Academy at the University of California, Irvine.

Note: “Crossing the Street in Laguna Beach” by John Gardiner was a winning entry in the Op-Ed poetry by the Los Angeles Times. Check out more of the winning poems at losangelestimes.com.

SOURCE: “Crossing the Street in Laguna Beach” appears in John Gardiner‘s collection Coyote Blues: Free Verse and Prose Poems, available at Amazon.com.

PHOTO: Trail of pelicans

Image
THE ANIMALS ARE LEAVING
by Charles Harper Webb

One by one, like guests at a late party
They shake our hands and step into the dark:
Arabian ostrich; Long-eared kit fox; Mysterious starling.

One by one, like sheep counted to close our eyes,
They leap the fence and disappear into the woods:
Atlas bear; Passenger pigeon; North Island laughing owl;
Great auk; Dodo; Eastern wapiti; Badlands bighorn sheep.

One by one, like grade school friends,
They move away and fade out of memory:
Portuguese ibex; Blue buck; Auroch; Oregon bison;
Spanish imperial eagle; Japanese wolf; Hawksbill
Sea turtle; Cape lion; Heath hen; Raiatea thrush.

One by one, like children at a fire drill, they march outside,
And keep marching, though teachers cry, “Come back!”
Waved albatross; White-bearded spider monkey;
Pygmy chimpanzee; Australian night parrot;
Turquoise parakeet; Indian cheetah; Korean tiger;
Eastern harbor seal ; Ceylon elephant ; Great Indian rhinoceros.

One by one, like actors in a play that ran for years
And wowed the world, they link their hands and bow
Before the curtain falls.

SOURCE: “The Animals Are Leaving” appears in Charles Harper Webb‘s collection Amplified Dog (Red Hen Press, 2006), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Endangered Species” by Adrian Chesterman. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Harper Webb was a rock guitarist for fifteen years and is now a licensed psychotherapist and professor at Cal State University, Long Beach. He has written five books of poetry, including Liver, which won the 1999 Felix Pollak Prize and Reading the Water, which won the S.F. Morse Poetry Prize and Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Shadow Ball (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009).

Image
TREE
by Jane Hirshfield

It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books—

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

SOURCE: “Tree” appears in Jane Hirshfield‘s collection Given Sugar, Given Salt  (HarperCollins, 2001), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Young redwood amid dead tanoak” by the Redwood Forest Foundation.

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Hirshfield is the author of several collections of verse, including Come, Thief (2011), After (2006), shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize, and Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001), a finalist for the National Book Critics Award, among others. Hirshfield has also translated the work of early women poets in collections such as The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan (1990) and Women in Praise of the Sacred: Forty-Three Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women (1994).

Image
GRANDMOTHER’S LAND
by William Oandasan

around the house stood an
orchard of plum, apple and pear
a blackwalnut tree, one white pine,
groves of white oak and willow clumps
the home of Jessie was largely redwood

blood, flesh and bone sprouted
inside her womb of redwood
for five generations
the trees now stand unpruned and wild

after relocating so many years before the War
the seeds of Jessie have returned

afternoon sunlight on the field
breezes moving grass and leaves
memories with family names wait
within the earth, the mountains,
the valley, the field, the trees

SOURCE: “Grandmother’s Land” appears in William Oandasan’s collection Round Valley Songs (West End Press, 1984), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Light Coming Through Redwood Trees” by Kaj R. Svennson. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Of mixed Yuki and Filipino heritage, William Oandasan (1947-1992) was a member of the Yuki tribe of Round Valley, California. An advocate for Native American writers, he founded A Press in 1976 and edited A: A Journal of Contemporary Literature. He is the author of the poetry collections Taking Off (1976), Sermon & Three Waves: A Journey Through Night (1978), Moving Inland, A Cycle of Lyrics (1983), Round Valley Songs (1984) — winner of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation — Round Valley Verses (1987), and Summer Night (1989).

Image
BECOMING A REDWOOD
by Dana Gioia

Stand in a field long enough, and the sounds
start up again. The crickets, the invisible
toad who claims that change is possible,

And all the other life too small to name.
First one, then another, until innumerable
they merge into the single voice of a summer hill.

Yes, it’s hard to stand still, hour after hour,
fixed as a fencepost, hearing the steers
snort in the dark pasture, smelling the manure.

And paralyzed by the mystery of how a stone
can bear to be a stone, the pain
the grass endures breaking through the earth’s crust.

Unimaginable the redwoods on the far hill,
rooted for centuries, the living wood grown tall
and thickened with a hundred thousand days of light.

The old windmill creaks in perfect time
to the wind shaking the miles of pasture grass,
and the last farmhouse light goes off.

Something moves nearby. Coyotes hunt
these hills and packs of feral dogs.
But standing here at night accepts all that.

You are your own pale shadow in the quarter moon,
moving more slowly than the crippled stars,
part of the moonlight as the moonlight falls,

Part of the grass that answers the wind,
part of the midnight’s watchfulness that knows
there is no silence but when danger comes.

SOURCE: “Becoming a Redwood” appears in Dana Gioia‘s collection The Gods of Winter ( Graywolf Press, 1991), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Muir Woods” by Patricia Stalter. Prints available at fineartamerica.com. For more about Muir Woods, a redwood sanctuary near San Francisco, visit savetheredwoods.org.

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dana Gioia is a poet and writer who also served as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. After attending Harvard and Stanford Universities, Gioia has published four books of poetry and three volumes of poetry criticism as well as opera libretti, translations, and over two dozen literary anthologies. His third poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. Gioia’s poems have been reprinted in numerous anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of Poetry and The Oxford Book of American Poetry. The first poet to chair the NEA, Gioia created a series of national arts initiatives, including Poetry Out Loud, Shakespeare in American Communities, and the Big Read. In August 2011, Gioia became Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. Visit him at danagioia.net.

Image
SIMPLE ARITHMETIC
by Billy Collins

I spend a little time every day
on a gray wooden dock
on the edge of a wide lake, thinly curtained by reeds.

And if there is nothing on my mind
but the motion of the wavelets
and the high shape-shifting of clouds,

I look out at the whole picture
and divide the scene into what was here
five hundred years ago and what was not.

Then I subtract all that was not here
and multiply everything that was by ten,
so when my calculations are complete,

all that remains is water and sky,
the dry sound of wind in the reeds,
and the sight of an unflappable heron on the shore.

All the houses are gone, and the boats
as well as the hedges and the walls,
the curving brick paths, and the distant siren.

The plane crossing the sky is no more
and the same goes for the swimming pools,
the furniture and the pastel umbrellas on the decks,

And the binoculars around my neck are also gone,
and so is the little painted dock itself–
according to my figuring–

and gone are my notebook and my pencil
and there I go, too,
erased by my own eraser and blown like shavings off the page.

Photo: ”Morning light on rock patterns, North Saskatchewan River, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada” From the postcard book: Sierra Club Nature in Close-Up. ©Ron Thomas,1988, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find the 160-page book at Amazon here.

Image
FLOATING WORLD
by Taigu Ryōkan

If the sleeves
of my black robe
were more ample
I’d shelter everyone
in this floating world. 

Photo: ”Gull feather & midnight sun, Nome, Alaska” from the postcard book: Sierra Club Nature in Close-Up. ©David Cavagnaro,1988, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find the 160-page book at Amazon here.

Image

“Writing is flying in dreams. When you remember. When you can. When it works. It’s that easy.” NEIL GAIMAN

Photo: “Whooper Swans, Japan” by Stefano Unterthiner (National Geographic). The photo appears in the White Gallery on the National Geographic website devoted to Life in Color, a 504-page book of 245 photos, divided into 11 color-based chapters. Find the book at Amazon.com.