Tag Archives: nature poems

Susan Richardson’s ‘Waiting at the Breathing Hole’

Waiting at the Breathing Hole
Susan Richardson
The white of this screen burns
my eyes. Its unswerving glare
might well make me snow-blind. 
There was a time when words would fly
across the screen, like a dog-team speeding,
each at its peak and pulling
equally and all I’d have to do was leap
aboard the sledge, guide it
in the right direction, then
relish the ride.

But suddenly,
                    we hit uneven ice.
          Bumped over ridges.
I fell from the sledge.          The dogs fled.
The instructions I yelled
                    had no meaning.
So now, with tender eyes,
I must hunt for a hole in the white
and wait
at the rim
for the whiskered nose of inspiration,
for a flippered urge to surge to the surface.
And when it comes, I won’t shoot it,
harpoon it     skin it     rip its liver out and eat it raw
leave banners of blood on the snow.
No. I’ll feed it all the saffron cod and shrimp it needs,
teach it to move with the ease it knows beneath
the ice
but first, I’ll take a few steps back
and just let it
First published in Creatures of the Intertidal Zone
(Cinnamon Press, 2007).
Visit Susan’s website and blog.

Wendell Berry

“To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.”

– Wendell Berry
  from “To Know the Dark”, Farming: A Handbook
  (Harcourt Brace, 1970)

Alison Brackenbury’s ‘After’

Alison Brackenbury’s seventh poetry collection, Singing in the Dark (Carcanet), has one of the loveliest covers I’ve seen.

A few days ago, Alison sent me a short poem from Singing in the Dark.  In her words, heartsease is “a tiny pansy which grows at the edge of cornfields … delicately streaked with palest yellow and violet.  But it combines beauty with the toughness of a weed.”

Alison Brackenbury
You know we are not lost. Nothing is lost.
The smallest crinkled petal of heartsease
Crumbles to ground. The wind that sweeps each face
Brings, wild with sun, your mother as a girl,
His vanished brothers, holds an endless place
For dogs, cats, ponies, robins that she fed.
Speak, as you must, of every fault and flight.
But never say of me that I am dead.
from Singing in the Dark (Carcanet)
Alison Brackenbury talks to Paul Stevens in The Chimaera (Issue 3) here.
Read nine poems in The Chimaera here.

Four of Alison’s poems in Horizon Review here.

Read more of Alison’s poetry on her website.

Alison’s author page on the Carcanet website.

Charles Bainbridge’s review of Singing in the Dark in The Guardian here.

Order your copy of Singing in the Dark here.

When Death Comes

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”

– Mary Oliver, “When Death Comes”

from New and Selected Poems
Read “When Death Comes”.
Mary Oliver’s website.
Read about Mary Oliver at poets.org.
Read about Mary Oliver at Modern American Poetry.

Pascale Petit’s ‘Chandelier-Tree’

Another poem from Pascale Petit’s new collection,
The Treekeeper’s Tale (Seren, 2008).

Pascale Petit

I find myself staring at the spaces between
fronds, where pure blue plumes appear,
the air painting itself on my eye.

And I see how the trunk doesn’t end
where a person can climb, but continues
to the redwood’s true crown, sky-feathers

piercing the stratosphere, blue forest
on blue, some white with lace frills
of finest cirrus, before the wide canopy

of night, its invisible leaves
suddenly alert with stars – how they are
glimpses of the tree of light.
Listen to Pascale reading “Chandelier-Tree” here.