Posts Tagged ‘nature’




So much to learn from the fallen leaves,

the barren trees, the still green moss,

the skittish deer, the unturned stone,

the smooth gray limbs of loss,

fog hung like garland in the woods,

a secret spring, the brittle grass,

the yet unfurling truth in us,

the path that forgets it’s a path.

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You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.

            —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations



And though the leaves blush golden and red

and though the sun cups my face like a hand

and though the chill air makes me catch my breath


the wind whispers, friend, remember your death.

And I feel so deeply, so wildly alive

as I climb the hill, slight burn in my thighs


but I cannot pretend I am deaf

as the wind whispers soft, remember your death.

The Roman generals had their slaves


whisper to them in their moments of greatness,

remember your death—even as the crowds cheered—

to help them remember be humble, be here.


And the wind whispers yes, whispers yes to me.

And reminds me to take each step gratefully.

Remember your death, it says. Live now.


And with every step, though I don’t know to whom,

I say thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.


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When my shoulders feel too slight

to carry injustice and my arms

reach too short to hold the world


and my bones are too weak

to carry even a single aching heart,

I walk amongst the aspen and the spruce


and notice how the light shines through

the changing leaves—such radiance,

such golden shine—and slowly


the rational part of me that believes

in doom is forced to fade.

It’s not so simple, of course,


as walking out into the forest.

But there is something there

that grows the soul and breeds


a sense of possibility and tells

the aching heart to rise up, rise up

and do the work that must be done,


rise up and carry with it the light.

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And sometimes when I move

at the edge of a greatness—

a lake or a sea or a mountainside—

my insignificance thrills me

and the largest of my sadnesses

dwindles smaller than the space

between grains of sand

and in that moment,

knowing my place,

comes a love so enormous

I can love anyone, anyone,

even myself.

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hello friends, back from a glorious few days of being unplugged … here are a few poems from the last five days. 




falling asleep beside the stream

it carries away

the day, the years





whatever a partial moon means—

cradling it in my hands

to give to you




inviting Audrey Hepburn

for pancakes and tea—

she arrives with two tiaras




familiar path—

a year later

this new woman walks it




it takes four days

before my hands open enough

to let in the world




riding our bikes

on the old dirt road—

baptized in scent of pine




sitting on a rock

long enough

no one feels like an enemy




beside the path

one ripe wild raspberry—

walking through its door







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Come, she says, let me show you

my secret place in the woods,

and she grabs my hand


and walks me past the pond through

the forest and along a ditch

until we arrive in a small clearing


rung with birch and old spruce.

It’s secret, she says, but not

too far away. Will you help me


get it ready? We return with

loppers and a small hand saw

and clear away what is dead. The sun


discovers new ways to touch the ground.

When we leave, the clearing

comes with us. All day, I feel it,


the light as it finds its way in.


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One Way to Walk




the old road to the mine—

getting lost without making

a single turn

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Even on a Monday it can happen,

you step out of the office

and instead of going to your car

or making another call or running

to the bank, your feet

and legs conspire to move you

toward the woods where after

only ten minutes you are more breath

than brain, more here than anywhere else—

water drips in the creek bed,

sunlight pushes through empty branches,

and at your sides your arms swing

as if they were made for this.

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When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.
—John Muir

and so when I tug at the blue green ice
that marbles the top of the river, it’s no
surprise to find it connected to those mornings
when I was a girl and the lake was frozen
and I could skate all the way to the middle,
could follow the cracks and skate so far
I could hardly see my small yellow house.
I would lay down, face to the ice, and feel
the way the cold rose up to sting my check,
feel the chill seep through my winter clothes.
I would roll over and stare at the white sky
and wave my arms and legs in the angel pattern,
though there was no snow. And I’d stay there
a long, long time. In this way, I learned
it is possible to be warm even held by the cold,
and tugging at this, it is no surprise
to find it connects to everything.

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See, he says
with a wave of his hand,
how to this side
the trees are slender
and on this side
how large they all are.
We can imagine,
he says, that a post road
went through here
and on one side of it
the forest was cleared.
On the other is old growth.
I look, and agree, though
now there is no hint
besides the trees
that this was once
a well traveled way.
I think of all the people
who have walked
through my life,
how invisible their paths
are now. Can anyone else
see the ways I’ve been marked?
Some brought invasive seeds.
Some made light.


We hear it
long before we see it—
zee zee zee zoo zee.
A trout lily
bows by the stream.
Open, its six yellow petals peal back.
zee zee zee zoo zee.
Do you know why it’s bowed?
Paul asks me.
I like that he will know the answer.
Inside, he says, are all the sex organs,
and they do not want to get wet.
zee zee zee zoo zee.
He explains
one way other flowers
stay dry is to learn to close up
whenever things get dark.
Now that’s smart.
I think to myself,
Rosemerry, learn to bow.


What is this drive
toward opening?
Here: white trilliums
and anemone, pink spring beauties
and ten thousand
blue and yellow violets
all unfold in a mass
affirmation of life
longing for itself.
The beech leaves are
so intent on unfurling
that their bud scales are bursting
and fall from the canopy
like coppery rain in our hair.
zee zee zee zoo zee.
Even this damp land
beneath our feet
is still opening—a widening canyon
carved over 340,040 years
by water moving toward the sea.
One day, we’ll be put
into this earth forever.
For now, there’s this
bird to find, there’s this
drive toward opening.


And there it is,
the black-throated green warbler.
It’s yellow. Though I can’t tell
from this distance
to where its silhouette flits
high in the trees.
a tiny, bobbing silhouette.
I thrill to see it,
but the bird is not why I am here.
I have no list to check.
I don’t know why I am here.
Except that it feels good
to walk in the woods
amongst hemlock and beech
and wild cherry and to hear
the stories about how it is.
How the barberry came
and never left. How the
Henslow’s Sparrow ushers
in the summers here, tsi-lick, tsi-lick,
How the male toads,
when they’re ready to mate,
will grip onto your finger
and not let go. How quietly
someone might walk into your life
and change the landscape,
another invisible road.

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