top of page

Poetry of Nature Late Spring


Jun 5, 2022

“There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.” ~ Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Dear Poetry of Nature Friends,

I hope this news of the world finds each of you well and safe. In my mid spring letter, I shared about how keenly joy and awakening was speaking to me. Today I feel late spring leaning into summer. As I begin my letter to you, beauty is very much on my heart and mind. Today, it was my theme in the Morning Pages. The more I welcome and explore beauty, I feel that Joy and Beauty are sisters! I am reminded of the Navajo Blessing Way chant, “House Made of Dawn”. I invite you to grab your journal and head to your Nature spot. Once you've arrived, notice how you feel now. Where is your breath? How do you feel in your body, heart, and spirit? Notice anything else that stands out. Jot a few quick notes in your journal. Then, begin by sitting in meditation in your Nature spot for a few moments. Imagine as you breath in you are filling yourself with joy. As you breath out, exhale beauty. Imagine you are embodying beauty. When you feel moved, please offer "House Made of Dawn" to your Nature spot. Please read it aloud, twice. Listen in beauty.

House Made of Dawn House made of dawn. House made of evening light. House made of the dark cloud. House made of male rain. House made of dark mist. House made of female rain. House made of pollen. House made of grasshoppers. Dark cloud is at the door. The trail out of it is dark cloud. The zigzag lightning stands high upon it An offering I make. Restore my feet for me. Restore my legs for me. Restore my body for me. Restore my mind for me. Restore my voice for me. This very day take out your spell for me. Happily I recover. Happily my interior becomes cool. Happily I go forth. My interior feeling cool, may I walk. No longer sore, may I walk. Impervious to pain, may I walk. With lively feelings may I walk. As it used to be long ago, may I walk. Happily may I walk. Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I walk. Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk. Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk. Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk. Happily may I walk. Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk. May it be beautiful before me. May it be beautiful behind me. May it be beautiful below me. May it be beautiful above me. May it be beautiful all around me. In beauty it is finished. In beauty it is finished. ~From the Navajo Beauty Way

When you're complete, continue opening to your practice of beauty by noting in your journal how you feel now. What words, lines and images have energy for you? Note how "House Made of Dawn" speaks to you emotionally, physically and spiritually. What are you curious about? Feel free to set your responses aside and return to them later. I invite you to let this inform your poem making. To keep the energy and momentum of beauty flowing, I offer you these possible sentence stems to play with. Feel free to choose just one, or you could play with all of them. Is there a poem of beauty wanting to walk with you? House made of . . . Restore my . . . Happily may I . . . In beauty it is . . .

"If one truly loves nature one finds beauty everywhere." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Occupying Beauty I’ve been appreciating these recurring themes of joy, and now beauty this spring, while gradually awakening from a dream of grief. I lost my beautiful cat Spritty. Friend, companion, and teacher, we’ve been together since before he was born and found me in a dream. It was a shock to lose him, just days before the winter solstice. The past couple of weeks in my Morning Pages, beauty, particularly "occupy beauty" has emerged as a theme. I feel that I have awakened from my dream of grief. I now see how grief, sorrow, and impermanence can be portals for great beauty.

"I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles." ~ Anne Frank

One of the ways I am occupying beauty is enjoying the gift of a staycation while I cat sit my friend's three cats, Luna, Pacha, and Callisi. My friend lives on Phillips Lake, a natural, spring fed lake. It’s stunning here. For me, self-care has been a part of occupying beauty. For these sixteen days, I’ve turned off the headlines and news. This is a beautiful practice to do. I notice how much better I feel as I slow down and find my way into my new schedule and priorities. I do not miss the news; I do not miss 24/7 realtime. I appreciate that my amygdala and adrenals are not on red alert. Have you ever noticed how your body, heart and mind respond to the news? Have you ever taken a serious break from it?

"Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with the secrets of life itself." ~ Louis Wolfe Gilbert

Today is gorgeous. I am writing this on my friends "magic porch". I love the low, dark clouds and I am digging my strong connection with what feels like female rain. La Nina is still with us, and it is 57 degrees, unheard of this late in spring. I’m so grateful for a break in the drought and heat of the last eight years. Last April, complete burn bans had been declared, the earliest that’s ever happened in my neck of the woods. I love the way the rain mattes the lake’s surface, the tattoo on the aluminum roof, and the emerald cradle of Earth around the lake. My friend's rhododendrons are spectacular, there’s a scented one next to the porch and the flavor mixes perfectly with the lilac’s low sweet tang. Luna, one of my friend's cats is cuddled next to me. We keep each other warm as we listen to the plinck plinck plinck of rain falling on the bottles my friend has put down especially to catch the rain’s music. What are some ways you could occupy beauty? At first, when "occupy" came forward, I wanted to reframe that word. Then I looked up occupy, I found this: occupy: transitive verb

  1. To fill up (time or space).

  2. To dwell or reside in (an apartment, for example).

  3. To hold or fill (an office or position).

  4. To engage or employ the attention or concentration of.

I admit I like the idea of filling time and space with beauty, of dwelling in beauty, and holding an office or position of beauty. I like the idea of engaging beauty. That helps me feel that I am in relationship with beauty. I also like the idea of committing acts of beauty! This month, I invite you to let beauty inform your heart, soul, and poem making. Being Beauty. Beauty Being.

"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." ~ Albert Einstein

An eagle just flew by and landed in the trees across Phillips Lake. This reminds me of another inspiring poem of beauty I love, “Eagle Poem” by Joy Harjo. You can listen to Eagle Poem here.

Eagle Poem To pray you open your whole self To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon To one whole voice that is you. And know there is more That you can’t see, can’t hear; Can’t know except in moments Steadily growing, and in languages That aren’t always sound but other Circles of motion. Like eagle that Sunday morning Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky In wind, swept our hearts clean With sacred wings. We see you, see ourselves and know That we must take the utmost care And kindness in all things. Breathe in, knowing we are made of All this, and breathe, knowing We are truly blessed because we Were born, and die soon within a True circle of motion, Like eagle rounding out the morning Inside us. We pray that it will be done In beauty. In beauty. ~Joy Harjo

Like eagle rounding out the morning Inside us. ~ Joy Harjo

Please read on for Geoff’s June PONderings. Geoff has offered us a bouquet of summer poems, below. For those of you in our monthly Poetic Medicine circle, we will come together on June 13th to celebrate the Summer Solstice which arrives on Tuesday, June 21st at 2:14 AM PST. These poems will serve as possible prompts for poem-making both before, and during, the group. Geoff and I look forward to enjoying your poems, photos and inspiration. Please press reply to respond to our letter. You can also share in your private virtual community. May Nature and her beauty bless and inspire you. NanLeah * * * Luna

Geoff Oelsner’s Ponderings Poems of Regenerative Oneness with the Earth For the Coming Summer A pause can be a portal to an open moment, an open invitation to rest and resonate with what you’ve read. Here are some summer poems. When one touches you, take time to pause and bask in your bodily experience. Let its word-music stir you. Let these poems serve as possible prompts to inspire your own poems. Let them be portals and prompts. We’ll return to them on June 13 when we meet and write some more, and celebrate together the coming of summer. ~ Geoff Oelsner (The Summer Solstice arrives on Tuesday, June 21st at 2:14 AM PST)

Solstice How again today our patron star whose ancient vista is the long view turns its wide brightness now and here: Below, we loll outdoors, sing & make fire. We build no henge but after our swim, linger by the pond. Dapples flicker pine trunks by the water. Buzz & hum & wing & song combine. Light builds a monument to its passing. Frogs content themselves in bullish chirps, hoopskirt blossoms on thimbleberries fall, peeper toads hop, lazy— Apex. The throaty world sings: Ripen Our grove slips past the sun’s long kiss. We dress. We head home in other starlight. Our earthly time is sweetening from this. ~ Tess Taylor. * * * By the Peonies The peonies bloom, white and pink. And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl, A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation, For the flower is given to them as their home. Mother stands by the peony bed, Reaches for one bloom, opens its petals, And looks for a long time into peony lands, Where one short instant equals a whole year. Then lets the flower go. And what she thinks She repeats aloud to the children and herself. The wind sways the green leaves gently And speckles of light flick across their faces. ~ Czeslaw Milosz * * * An excerpt from: The Garden What wond’rous life in this I lead! Ripe apples drop about my head; The luscious clusters of the vine Upon my mouth do crush their wine; The nectarine and curious peach Into my hands themselves do reach; Stumbling on melons as I pass, Ensnar’d with flow’rs, I fall on grass. Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less, Withdraws into its happiness; The mind, that ocean where each kind Does straight its own resemblance find, Yet it creates, transcending these, Far other worlds, and other seas; Annihilating all that’s made To a green thought in a green shade. Here at the fountain’s sliding foot, Or at some fruit tree’s mossy root, Casting the body’s vest aside, My soul into the boughs does glide; There like a bird it sits and sings, Then whets, and combs its silver wings; And, till prepar’d for longer flight, Waves in its plumes the various light. ~ Andrew Marvell * * * On the Hill Late at Night The ripe grassheads bend in the starlight in the soft wind, beneath them the darkness of the grass, fathomless, the long blades rising out of the well of time. Cars travel the valley roads below me, their lights finding the dark, and racing on. Above their roar is a silence I have suddenly heard, and felt the country turn under the stars toward dawn. I am wholly willing to be here between the bright silent thousands of stars and the life of the grass pouring out of the ground. The hill has grown to me like a foot. Until I lift the earth I cannot move. ~ Wendell Berry * * * White Flowers Last night in the fields I lay down in the darkness to think about death, but instead I fell asleep, as if in a vast and sloping room filled with those white flowers that open all summer, sticky and untidy, in the warm fields. When I woke the morning light was just slipping in front of the stars, and I was covered with blossoms. I don’t know how it happened— I don’t know if my body went diving down under the sugary vines in some sleep-sharpened affinity with the depths, or whether that green energy rose like a wave and curled over me, claiming me in its husky arms. I pushed them away, but I didn’t rise. Never in my life had I felt so plush, or so slippery, or so resplendently empty. Never in my life had I felt myself so near that porous line where my own body was done with and the roots and the stems and the flowers began. ~ Mary Oliver * * * One more poem to share. It’s about time: Not Mine the Years Time Took Away Not mine the years time took away, not mine the years that might yet be. Time’s wink is mine, and if I tend it, then the maker of years and eternity is mine. ~ Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664) translation by John Peck * * * Yes, our pauses can be portals to an open moment to an open meadow to an open me What will you find? Where will you pause? What might you write? I look forward to being, pausing, writing and sharing with you on June 13! With Summer Love, Geoff O

"Each moment of the year has its own beauty." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson Dove parents with their three fledglings

bottom of page