Category: The Great Outdoors


More in Praise of National Poetry Month: Pileated Poem

April 10th, 2017 — 7:15pm

I think it’s true that poetry is everywhere, as my writing friend over at You Think Too Much suggests. Today I found a haiku on my walk.

Binoculars trained.
Big woodpecker stays hidden.
Dead birch is laughing.

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Spring; Or, Concerto No. 1 in E Major, Op. 8

March 29th, 2017 — 7:40pm

I’ve been listening to the first movement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on endless loop all morning. Spring. An icy drizzle patters on the roof; the sky is an old gray blanket. The world outside the window seems monochrome, with only the greens of the pines thrown in like a reprieve, but really if you look there are a dozen shades of brown in the trees’ trunks and branches. Also the red net of the suet bag, the garage’s blue tin roof, the bright copper top of the finch feeder.

I made myself take a walk earlier. It was wet but not as wet as I’d expected and not as cold, either. I turned left out of the driveway and headed toward the campground down the road trying to remember a sonnet I memorized last fall–  That time of year thou may’st in me behold, when yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang, upon those boughs which shake against the cold, bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see’st…  See’st….*

See’st what? The twilight of such day? Maybe, but after that I definitely couldn’t get any further. I tried to come up with another, got nowhere at all except for the overall feeling of it, that fundamental things are best. (Hunger, thirst, their satisfaction.**) I decided to give up on poetry and look for things I hadn’t noticed before, things I might describe in a new way if I was writing about them.

The road to the park is the route I walk most often, so I didn’t know how I’d do, but right away a long-fallen pine was some many-legged creature scrambling up from the ground. Then the neighbor’s small bear statue, still mired in a pool of snow, was alive, makwa crawling from her winter den out into the waking-up world. I gasped; a raven flapped past; a flock of snow buntings tossed itself up from the grass.

I turned for home half an hour after I started, as wet as the trees and mailboxes. My shoes were soaked, my windpants clung to my legs, my glasses dripped. I felt pleased, almost victorious. I felt, in a way, poetic.

*Shakespeare, Sonnet 73

**Wendell Berry, Goods

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