When mosquitoes are at their worst, they serve as our sole connection to nature and the only means to take in the great outdoors. (No? Only you? Okay.) Nature may be introduced to us in ways we hadn’t considered or knew to search for because of the poet’s observation, insight, and wordplay. How would you describe nature? Here’s a better description- a poem on nature.
An excellent nature poetry slows us down. It makes us think of the ground we walk on, the trees we pass by, the birds that soar above us, the hands that tilled the soil and sowed the seeds, and the persistence of seeds—of animals, of people—despite all odds.
We respect the ugliness and ferocity of the natural world by seeing and remembering both. To that purpose, here are 33 poems by poets whose nature poems are on point but who would not be labeled “nature poets.”
Wild Pansy by Lisa Bellamy
As a seed, I was shot out the back end of a blue jay
when, heedless, she flew over the meadow.
She had swallowed me in my homeland when she spied me
lying easy under the sun—briefly, I called her Mother
before I passed through her gullet like a ghost.
In a blink of God’s eye I was an orphan.
I trembled where I fell, alone in the dirt.
That first night was a long night, early May and chilly,
and I remember rain filled my furrow.
I called out for mercy—
only a wolverine wandered by.
I cursed my luck,
I cursed the happenstance of this world,
I smelled his hot stink,but he nosed me deep into the mud—
this was the gift of obscurity.
I germinated, hidden from the giants of earth,
the jostling stalks,
and this was my salvation.
After seven days and nights I pushed through— yes.
Here I am, kissable: your tiny, purple profusion.
Putting in the Seed by Robert Frost
You come to fetch me from my work to-night
When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see
If I can leave off burying the White
Soft petals fallen from the apple tree.
(Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quiet,
Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea;)
And go along with you ere you lose sight
Of what you came for and become like me,
Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.
South by Natasha Trethewey
I returned to a stand of pines,
Bone-thin phalanx flanking the roadside,
Tangle of understory—a dialectic of dark
And light—and magnolias blossoming like afterthought:
Each flower a surrender,
White flags draped among the branches.
I returned to land’s end,
The swath of coast clear cut and buried in sand:
Mangrove, live oak, gulfweed razed and replaced by thin palms—
Palmettos—symbols of victory or defiance,
Over and over marking this vanquished land.
I returned to a field of cotton,
Hallowed ground— as slave legend goes—each boll
Holding the ghosts of generations:
Those who measured their days by the heft of sacks and lengths
Of rows, whose sweat flecked the cotton plants still sewn into our clothes.
I returned to a country battlefield
Where colored troops fought and died—
Port hudson where their bodies swelled
And blackened beneath the sun—unburied
Until earth’s green sheet pulled over them,
Unmarked by any headstones.
Where the roads, buildings,
And monuments are named to honor the confederacy,
Where that old flag still hangs,
I return to mississippi,
State that made a crime of me—mulatto,
Half-breed—native in my native land,
This place they’ll bury me.
What I Would Like to Grow in My Garden by Katherine Riegel
Peonies, heavy and pink as ’80s bridesmaid dresses
and scented just the same. Sweet pea,
because I like clashing smells and the car
I drove in college was named that: a pea-green
Datsun with a tendency to backfire.
Sugar snap peas, which I might as well
call memory bites for how they taste like
being fourteen and still mourning the horse farm
I had been uprooted from at ten.
Also: sage, mint, and thyme—the clocks
of summer—and watermelon and blue lobelia.
Lavender for the bees and because I hate
all fake lavender smells. Tomatoes to cut
and place on toasted bread for BLTs, with or without
the b and the l. I’d like, too, to plant
the sweet alyssum that smells like honey and peace,
and for it to bloom even when it’s hot,
and also lilies, so I have something left
to look at when the rabbits come.
They always come. They are
always hungry. And I think I am done
protecting one sweet thing from another.
Hermitage by Joseph Fasano
It’s true there were times when it was too much
And i slipped off in the first light or its last hour
And drove up through the crooked way of the valley
And swam out to those ruins on an island.
Blackbirds were the only music in the spruces,
And the stars, as they faded out,
Offered themselves to me
Like glasses of water ringing by the empty linens of the dead.
When delilah watched the dark hair of her lover tumble,
She did not shatter.
When abraham relented,
He did not relent.
Still, I would tell you of the humbling and the waking.
I would tell you of the wild hours of surrender,
When the river stripped the cove’s stones
From the margin and the blackbirds built
Their strict songs in the high pines,
When the great nests swayed the lattice of the branches,
The moon’s brute music touching them with fire.
And you, there, stranger in the sway
Of it, what would you have done
There, in the ruins, when they rose from you,
When the burning wings ascended,
When the old ghosts
Shook the music from your branches
And the great lie
Of your one sweet life was lifted?
This collection gives exposure to the exploration of better descriptive vices to understand, appreciate and explain nature with the best words as possible. We hope you share this piece wit your poetry community and leave us feedback.