Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “nature”

POM: April 29


Emily. Emily. How amazing is the ability to capture a moment for all of us to wonder and appreciate centuries later. And to think your poems lay hidden, languishing until a sister realized they needed freedom not a burial.

A lane of Yellow led the eye (1650)

Emily Dickinson
A lane of Yellow led the eye
Unto a Purple Wood
Whose soft inhabitants to be
Surpasses solitude
If Bird the silence contradict
Or flower presume to show
In that low summer of the West
Impossible to know—

NPM: #3–Serenity found in brooks…


Serenity

Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)

Brook,
Be still,—be still!
Midnight’s arch is broken
In thy ceaseless ripples.
Dark and cold below them                 
Runs the troubled water,—
Only on its bosom,
Shimmering and trembling,
Doth the glinted star-shine
                  Sparkle and cease.

                  Life,
Be still,—be still!
Boundless truth is shattered
On thy hurrying current.
Rest, with face uplifted,
Calm, serenely quiet;
Drink the deathless beauty—
Thrills of love and wonder
Sinking, shining, star-like;
Till the mirrored heaven
Hollow down within thee
Holy deeps unfathomed,
Where far thoughts go floating,
And low voices wander
              Whispering peace.

 

Although I am drawn to the ocean, I think I favor the quiet charm of a brook ensconced in the cradle of the woods. What is it about archaic language that makes reflections so much more profound?

 

image: Natureworks/Morguefile

Poet Appreciation #7: William Cullen Bryant


Are you a New Yorker? If so, then you know that William Bryant helped establish Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and that Bryant Park is named for him. He was also long time editor of the New York Evening Post. Of course you knew . More importantly, Bryant was part of the Romantics. While the Brits reveled in Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley, America had its own Romanticist in the form of William Cullen Bryant.

William Cullen Bryant Cabinet Card by Mora-crop.jpg William Cullen Bryant: November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878 (Wikipedia image)

November
by William Cullen Bryant

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air,
Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds ran,
Or snows are sifted o’er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skim the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.    

I do like fall. Each month has its own cadence. September has its drowsy warm days drifting into chilly nights, and then there is October with its brisk mornings rewarded with a gift of sun before rescinding into frost-quickened nights. Bryant has captured November with its bright, lingering colors mixed into the descending browns, graced with slights of snowfall. November is truly a mixture of seasons with its bits of summer mingling with the foreshadowing of winter. I added “gentian” to my imagery entries. Lovely word. Wonderful poem of images.

Poet Appreciation #3: Robert Penn Warren


Better known as a novelist, and perhaps as a scholar, Robert Penn Warren did provide some formidable poetry to ponder. You might be more familiar with his All the King’s Men, which garnered him the Pulitzer Prize in 1947, then his Pulitzer Prize collection Now and Then: Poems, 1976-1978. In all, he was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes, two being for poetry.  His southern background influenced his writing, particularly leaning towards the agrarian appreciation of the land. Receiving accolades and honors throughout his career, Warren left a rich legacy of both prose and poetry.

Image of U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Penn Warren

Image of U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Penn Warren (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vision
by Robert Penn Warren

I shall build me a house shall build me a house where the larkspur blooms
In a narrow glade in an alder wood,

Where the sunset shadows make violet glooms,
And a whip-poor-will calls in eerie mood.

 
I shall lie on a bed of river sedge,
And listen to the glassy dark,
With a guttered light on my window ledge,
While an owl stares in at me white and stark.
I shall burn my house with the rising dawn,
And leave but the ashes and smoke behind,
And again give the glade to the owl and the fawn,
When the grey wood smoke drifts away with the wind.

Like Cather’s poetry about the prairie, Warren provides a strong connection to nature. His diction is amazing the way it influences the imagery: “violet glooms,” “guttered light,” “glassy dark”. I don’t even notice the rhyme, it’s so fluid. Whether they poem is taken for its metaphorical meaning or literal, it doesn’t matter to me–I simply want to savor it, rather than analyze it. Good writing is like a good sunset in that words aren’t always sufficient to explain why the beauty is so moving.

Poet Appreciate #1: Willa Cather


English: grass at , located on west side of ju...

Nebraska-Kansas prairie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most recognize Willa Cather as a writer of prairie prose; however, before O Pioneers! came out in 1913, she had published a book of poems entitled April Twilights in 1903. The following poem from that book of poetry served as the prologue to O Pioneers!

Prairie Spring
by Willa Cather

Evening and the flat land,
Rich and sombre and always silent;
The miles of fresh-plowed soil,
Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness;
The growing wheat, the growing weeds,
The toiling horses, the tired men;
The long empty roads,
Sullen fires of sunset, fading,
The eternal, unresponsive sky.
Against all this, Youth,
Flaming like the wild roses,
Singing like the larks over the plowed fields,
Flashing like a star out of the twilight;
Youth with its insupportable sweetness,
Its fierce necessity,
Its sharp desire,
Singing and singing,
Out of the lips of silence,
Out of the earthy dusk.

Cather announces the coming of spring through abounding sensory imagery and metaphors. This poem encapsulates her mastery of description and exemplifies her love of the prairie. Where she found poetry in a land, many only found hardship and heartaches as they tried to subdue tangled, tawny grasses under their plow.

Portrait of Willa Cather

Portrait of Willa Cather (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Baby Robin Song


American Robin -- Humber Bay Park (East) (Toro...

American Robin — Humber Bay Park (East) (Toronto, Canada) — 2005, by User:Mdf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we have been watching the last batch of robins readying for their imminent departure I found myself humming a tune:

There were four robins in the nest

and the little one said:

“I’m squished.  Move over.”

So they all moved over  and one flew out,

and there were three in the nest

and third one said:

“I’m squished. Move over.”

So they all moved over and one flew out,

and there were two in the nest

and the second one said:

“That’s better.  You good?”

And the first one said,

“Yup.  Works for me.”

At least that’s what I think is going on.   I had received an update on the baby birds whilst out shopping yesterday (we take our baby birding seriously) and contemplated rushing home to watch the event.  Costco won out and by the time I got home one of the birdies had flown.  Towards the evening it looked like another might be heading out but then all three hunkered down into the nest so only the tips of the beaks were sticking up.

Smart birds.

A summer storm kicked in an hour later and that birdie knew the nest was the best place to be if being a baby bird.

This morning I heard a cacophony of cheeping outside my bedroom window.  Upon checking I found the third baby robin just below the nest and forlornly indicating its angst of separation anxiety.  When it saw me approach it flew up into what I call the launching pine (it’s where all the robins seem to fly from the nest).  It hung out there for the longest time.  It’s still there and I still hear its lamentable cheeps.  I wonder if it’s having second thoughts about leaving the nest?

As I listen to its pitiful cheeps this book came to mind

I think our little bird is saying, “Mom? Mom?”  And I hope mom bird stops by and encourages her baby to find flight, grab a worm, and enjoy the sights.  At least that’s what I’d recommend.

UPDATE: the birds are gone. Rats.  I came home from morning appointments and the nest was empty.  I hear scattered cheeps up in the pines and I hope to spot them on the lawn learning how to get their own grub.  A couple of pics to share:

Getting Ready

I’m out…now what?

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