Archives for posts with tag: nature poems

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THE OAK

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Live thy Life,
Young and old,
Like yon oak,
Bright in spring,
Living gold;

Summer-rich
Then; and then
Autumn-changed
Soberer-hued
Gold again.

All his leaves
Fall’n at length,
Look, he stands,
Trunk and bough
Naked strength. 

Photo: “Old Oak Tree” by Sue Bristo, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets. His most famous composition is “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1854), written about a battle during the Crimean War. The poem includes the often-quoted line: “Theirs not to reason why / Theirs but to do and die.” (For more about Tennyson, visit Wikipedia.)

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SPRING HAIKU

by Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)

The oak tree stands
noble on the hill even in
cherry blossom time.

Photo: “Young Oak Tree on Lydeard Hill (UK) at Sunset” by Rich Heath, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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MORNING HAIKU

by Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)

I like to wash

the dust of this world

in the droplets of dew.

Photo: “Morning Dew” by Ashley Whitmoyer, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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DAFFODILS

by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

 

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Photo: William Wordsworth’s 1807 manuscript of “Daffodils” (also known as “The Daffodils” and “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud”), courtesy of The British Library Board.

William Wordsworth (April 7, 1770 – April 23, 1850), along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped usher in English literature’s Romantic Age — defined as a “reaction against the Industrial Revolution” and a movement that “validated strong emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience.”

Listen to Jeremy Irons recite “Daffodils” at youtube.com.

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SPRING Poem by Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)

Spring air —

Woven moon

And plum scent. 

PHOTO: Words with Wings, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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STILL MISSING THE JAYS

by Stanley Plumly

Then this afternoon, in the anonymous

winter hedge, I saw one. I’d just climbed,

in my sixty-year-old body—with its heart

attacks, kidney stones, torn Achilles tendon,

vague promises of ulcers, various subtle,

several visible permanent scars, ghost-

gray hair, long nights and longer silences,


impotence and liver spots, evident

translucence, sometime short-term memory loss—

I’d just climbed out of the car and there

it was, eye-level, looking at me, young,

bare blue, the crest and marking jewelry

penciled in, smaller than it would be

if it lasted but large enough to show

the dark adult and make its queedle

and complaint. It seemed to wait for me,

watching in that superciliary way

birds watch too. So I took it as a sign,

part spring, part survival. I hadn’t seen a jay

in years—I’d almost forgotten they existed.

Such obvious, quarrelsome, vivid birds

that turn the air around them crystalline.

Such crows, such ravens, such magpies!

Such bristling in the spyglass of the sun.

Yet this one, new in the world,

softer, plainer, curious. I tried

to match its patience, not to move,

though when it disappeared to higher ground,

I had the thought that if I opened up my hand—

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in 1939, Stanley Plumly is a professor of English at the University of Maryland. HIs poetry has been published in the Atlantic Monthly, American Poetry Review, New Yorker, New York Times, and Paris Review. In 2009, Plumly was named Poet Laureate for the State of Maryland. He has received many awards and honors for his work, including six Pushcart Prizes and the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Photo: “Baby Blue Jay” by Drewcjm, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Photographer’s note: This baby Blue Jay fell out of a tree while trying to fly on May 14, 2011. Photo shot in the Merchants Walk parking lot, Lakeland, Florida.

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EVENING HAWK

By Robert Penn Warren

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through

Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,

Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding

The last tumultuous avalanche of

Light above pines and the guttural gorge,

The hawk comes.

               His wing

Scythes down another day, his motion

Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear

The crashless fall of stalks of Time.

 

The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.

 

Look!  Look!  he is climbing the last light

Who knows neither Time nor error, and under

Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings

Into shadow.

 

          Long now,

The last thrush is still, the last bat

Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics.  His wisdom

Is ancient, too, and immense.  The star

Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

 

If there were no wind we might, we think, hear

The earth grind on its axis, or history

Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) was a poet, novelist, and literary critic. He received the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for his novel All the King’s Men and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979. He is the only person who has won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry. From 1944-1945, Warren served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. His other honors and awards include Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980), MacArthur Fellowship (1981), designation as first U.S. Poet Laureate (1986), and National Medal of Arts (1987).

Photo: “Evening Hawk” by Tony Hisgett

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LEAVING PACIFIC GROVE

by Marc Malandra

1.

Land’s end—

gulls on an updraft, trawlers

setting out to gather shrimp—

I had something to say.

Jade sea unsaid it.

2.

A stinkbug labors over a leaf.

Seals bake, far, furred sausages on the rocks.

An otter daydreams on a bed of kelp.

A raven’s shrill reveille, gull cries, rushing

tides sighing and crumpling over seaweed;

one last afternoon educated at my leisure.

3.

If I stay here to watch pines

twist into limbs, sap-strong

yet seeming-rotten, would I learn

language wind uses to entice

clouds into apparition?

If I strip fears like bark

from these trees will the exposed self

stand salt blasts and flood rains?

Am I less myself when divided

or more myself when less

the sum of my parts, some

of my parts tree-like, rock-

like, though less noble?

4.

I’m looking at my cloud-self

as it passes over a pool,

over chance-grasping anemones.

I’m thinking about surfaces,

how far down I have to look.

5.

A white dove arcs over the cove.

A raven scavenges among the rocks,

strutting bundle of tar with wings.

Shards of light, sand, and stone oscillate,

scenes from the life of saint

change, patron of tides. Wind

ripples the inlet into mosaic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marc Malandra grew up primarily in Avalon, on Santa Catalina Island, California. He attended and has degrees from U. C. Santa Barbara, U. C. Davis, and Cornell University, where he received both an MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph. D. in English. Over the last twenty years, he has published poetry in approximately three dozen different venues, including America, Cider Press Review, Flyway, Literature and Belief, Orange Coast Review, Poetry Northwest, Radix, South Florida Poetry Review, and Zocalo. Currently Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at Biola University.

“Leaving Pacific Grove” and other poetry by Mark Mallandra will appear in the upcoming Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose from over 50 authors around the world — available March 15, 2013.

PHOTO: “Pacific Grove at Sunset” by Joshua Tobash, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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LAUGHING SONG

by William Blake

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,

And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;

When the air does laugh with our merry wit,

And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

 

When the meadows laugh with lively green,

And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,

When Mary and Susan and Emily

With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, ha he!”

 

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,

Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:

Come live, and be merry, and join with me,

To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, ha, he!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. For the most part unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered one of the greatest poets of all time in any language. As a visual artist, he has been lauded by one art critic as “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Photo: Zsaj, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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JANUARY MORNING (Excerpt)

by William Carlos Williams

Long yellow rushes bending
above the white snow patches;
purple and gold ribbon
of the distant wood:
what an angle
you make with each other as
you lie there in contemplation.

Photo: Poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) with kittens. By training, William Carlos Williams was a medical doctor and often made house calls for sick children (he was a pediatrician). The photo with the kittens was probably taken during such a visit.