Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nature Journaling, A Poetry Field Trip

I went on a Poetry Field trip Friday.

Although it was a sunny day, the wind blew wildly, so I donned a wool sweater, scarf, hat and fingerless mitts.

When I got outside, I found it was a warm wind, almost a hot wind.

Yet in the woods, the ground was still covered in snow, and I sank in to my boot-tops every few steps.

I found a clear, dry patch of ground at the base of Owl Tree and sat down to write a Weather Poem.

First, I wrote a list of verbs that I normally associate with people.

Then, I wrote a list of verbs I associate with animals.

Then I chose some of these verbs and wrote a poem about the wind.

I wanted to express the disorientation I was feeling, after having begun to believe that winter would never go away, but now finding the snow melting and the weather changing so suddenly, without warning.  Here's my final poem, in case you can't read it in the picture:

March Wind

So you think you can just sashay back,
Fondle the pine boughs in your warm embrace,
Bend them to your will,
Release the river from its icy prison,
Peel back the crisp, dirt-flecked snow
One molecule at a time,
Awaken tiny green tendrils with your hot breath?

Do you feel no remorse?  No shame?
Should you not beg forgiveness
For your long, cold absence?

This exercise is from A Crow Doesn't Need a Shadow:  A Guide to Writing Poetry from Nature by Lorraine Ferra and illustrated by Diane Boardman with wonderful pencil drawings that are exactly the kind of drawings I'd love to be able to draw in my nature journal.

It's a book that's kind of intended for teaching poetry to kids (the examples were written by young poets ranging in age from around seven to 12 or so), but I find it enormously useful (I would say I'm at about a 12-year-old level of poetry writing, except that kids have an innocence and sense of wonder and openness to the world that I've long ago ceded to cynicism).

Invitation:  Take yourself on a Poetry Field Trip.  Try this exercise, or follow any other poetic thread that strikes your fancy.  Write the poem in your nature journal.  Post it on your blog and link to it in the comments, or post your poem in the comments.

Previous Nature Journaling posts:  Nature Journaling, Birds at the Feeder, Nature Journaling, An Invitation.  See also Nature Journaling as Meditation for more on starting a nature journal.


  1. You're an inspiration, twice over:

    1. You take care of yourself.
    2. Your poem triggered the neurons in my brain to fire off one of my own (although my wildlife was indoors).

    Looks like a good book. I'm going to track it down.

    Thank you!

  2. I loved it -- LOVED it. You are definitely an inspiration!!

  3. Oh Andrea, your poem is really lovely! You are quite talented! And I'm so happy that spring is coming to where you are.

  4. what a fantastic trip! and poem! and book!


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