What better way to celebrate the summer solstice than to connect with mother earth by sitting back and reading up on some nature poetry? Here are five of our favorite poems that give room to appreciate mother nature, as well as shed light on the issues that our planet continues to struggle with.
1. “I am a Tree: Look at me” by Myra Shapiro
Myra Shapiro serves on the Board of Directors of Poets House and teaches poetry workshops for the International Women’s Writing Guild. She has published several collections of poems, including “I’ll see you Thursday” and “12 Floors Above the Earth.”
Shapiro’s poem titled, “I am a Tree: Look at me” surrounds the pain of trees being cut down and exploited by the human race. The poem requests of readers to view each tree as its own unique person.
2. “The Center of the Planet is a Star” by Jacqueline Suskin
Jacqueline Suskin is a California-Based poet and educator who has been teaching workshops, writing books, and creating spontaneous poetry around the world since 2009.
Suskin’s poem entitled, “The Center of the Planet is a Star”, plays around with the realistic and abstract aspects of both experiencing and loving earth. In a way, it serves as an ode to the poet’s unique familiarity with the natural world. This poem focuses more on a personal experience rather than the bigger picture; but its personal flair gives it the ability to foster individual emotions in its readers.
3. “Kali’s Galaxy” by Ishmael Reed
Ishmael Reed has published over 30 books of poetry, prose, essays, and plays, as well as penned hundreds of lyrics for musicians ranging from Taj Mahal to Macy Gray.
Reed’s poem entitled “Kali’s Galaxy” dedicates itself to the love and fascination that the poet feels for the galaxy. Reed personifies the galaxy in such a way that the poem is transformed from a mere appreciation verse to a full pledged love poem.
4. “Blue Whales” by Gail Rudd Entrekin
Gail Rudd Entrekin has an M.A. in English Literature from Ohio State University and has taught poetry and English literature at California colleges for 25 years. Her newest collection of poems, Rearrangement of the Invisible is from Poetic Matrix Press in 2012.
Entrekin’s poem entitled, “Blue Whales”, surrounds the growing loneliness of the blue whales as their numbers in the world decrease. The poem serves as an ode to the beauty and weight which the blue whales carry, and which we, as humans, can never fully comprehend, but can attempt to appreciate.
5. “Transplanting Trees” by Joseph Bruchac
Joseph Bruchac has been creating literature and music that reflect his indigenous heritage and traditions for years. He is a proud Nulhegan Abenaki citizen and respected elder among his people. He is the author of more than 120 books for children and adults.
Bruchac’s poem entitled “Transplanting Trees” brings our collection of poems to a close by describing the step by step process of transplanting a tree, the time and intention that should be put into it, and the spiritual characteristics of the process. Bruchac brings to light the sacredness of growing a tree, and the near ethereal experience of it.
Poetry has the power of conveying messages and lessons that, while not new at their core, need to be recapitulated and brought back to the surface. With hope, one of the poems in this collection was able to resonate with you.
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