Forces of Nature: Earth Day and Pastoral Poems

Happy Earth Day, children of Gaia! Just kidding, I’ll try not to make this too weird. Sure, I’m obsessed with nature, but in a completely self-aware way, with a sister who will tell me when I’m wearing one, or five, too many flowers at a time. I did my part today by wearing earthy colors and shoes with big flowers on them. Yes, I can’t resist celebrating holidays, even Earth Day!

Speaking of nature, we’ve been having some crazy weather in the Midwest. Last week, we had 70° F one day, torrential downpour and epic flooding the next day, and snow the following day! I think our weather makes us hearty. 😉

We are still dealing with the effects of the flood. I was visiting Jeremiah’s farm when it hit, and luckily, the house and animals are OK, but the surrounding fields and forested area had quite the challenge.

No one in the area, or back home, had ever seen flooding so bad before. I guess, if I were to think of it as an author (which  I always do)…maybe the rain was washing away the tragedies from earlier this week (the bombing in Boston and the explosion in West, Texas) and refreshing the earth, the people…The plants certainly got a drink, and I saw flowers blossoming today around the campus at Marianjoy.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was in keeping with the theme:

In honor of the occasion, I challenge you to write a poem in keeping with Earth Day — it could be a reflection on what’s growing in your garden, a modern pastoral, or a Marianne-Moore-style poem about an animal. Anything to do with the natural world is fair game.

Because I am so inspired by nature, I was happy to see this prompt. In fact, I have presented and published a few of my favorite nature poems. I was selected to read these poems by the English Graduate Student Association at their second and third annual conferences, while I was a graduate student, myself, there. This, along with my selection for Radio DePaul, was one of my most rewarding experiences at DePaul. The conference was a celebration of select students’ work, organized by category, and we read our work aloud to our fellow students, faculty, family members, guests, etc. After the conference, a selected number of presentations were chosen to publish in the conferences’ proceedings. For tonight’s poem, I will point you to one that I wrote about my relationship with nature, which was pubilshed in the 2011 DePaul EGSA Proceedings. It is in blank verse, and I wrote this while I was at Jeremiah’s farm one summer night (pre-flooding–if I were to write it right now, it would have a decidedly soggier note to it). That’s one of my favorite things about going out there–it’s like a different world, where the only sounds you can hear are alive, where the air feels fresh…well, you can read the rest in the poem. 🙂

Please click here to read “Country Nocturne” on page 159 (you can “search” the title and it will take you there).

Enjoy the last few moments of Earth Day! You might consider hugging a tree, planting a flower…or just shutting off a light a few minutes early. 🙂

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