Tag Archives: Nature

Marianne’s Passion for Dead Leaves

In “Sense and Sensibility,” Austen gets us to reflect on the attractions and dangers of Nature.

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Hydrocarbons Unleash an Angry God

Euripides’ “The Bacchae” can be read as a parable of climate change denialism.

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A Message from the Mower in the Dew

Robert Frost’s “Tuft of Flowers” helped me grieve for my son in ways I am only beginning to understand.

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Monarch Butterflies in Danger

Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” warns of the threat to monarch butterflies.

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Earth Hath Nothing to Show More Fair

An early morning bicycle ride in Madison reminded me of Wordsworth’s “Composed upon Westminster Bridge.”

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No Calendar Except for this Bountiful Day

Derek Walcott’s elegy to his mother unexpectedly doubles as a Commencement poem.

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Blossoms Storm out of the Darkness

A perfect May poem from Mary Oliver.

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Christmas Bird Count from Santa’s Sleigh

This joyous Scott Bates birdwatching poem imagines Santa’s Blitzen involved in Audubon’s annual tally.

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Love Nature, Love Humans

Biologist-poet David Haskell taught my students to see the world with playful eyes.

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Memories of Summer Hiking in France

This summer poem by Scott Bates brings back childhood memories of hiking in the hills around the Mediterranean.

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Nature Red in Tooth & Claw? Maybe Not

Carleton’s Ian Barbour turned to Tennyson in seeking to find connections between science and religion.

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The Zen of an Old Growth Forest

Biologist David Haskell approaches forests in a way that is both scientific and poetic.

Posted in Blake (William), Emerson (Ralph Waldo), Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Thoreau (Henry David) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Your One Wild and Precious Life

Mary Oliver’s celebration of summer is a prayer operates as a prayer of gratitude.

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Look into Thine Heart and Write

Longfellow reenacts the Pentecost in this reflection up his changing relationship to nature.

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Dare to Be Happy, Dare to Pray

Mary Oliver finds hope even for those weighed down by the thorn of depression.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A Light Exists in Spring

Emily Dickinson captures magical light of spring–and its transience.

Posted in Dickinson (Emily) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Erotic Call of the Pear Tree

Zora Neale Hurston has one of the most erotic descriptions of a blossoming tree that you will find anywhere.

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First Snowfall, A Moment of Grace

For Mary Oliver, the season’s first snow fall raises existential questions and then answers them in its own way.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

My Heart Leapt Up

A rainbow sighting led to a discussion about how humans often turn to nature for guiding metaphors.

Posted in Bible, Blake (William), Wordsworth (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Autumn’s Subterranean Mysteries

Oliver’s “Fall Song” captures the “rich spiced residues” of autumn.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 5 Comments

Autumn Striptease

As Scott Bates sees it, trees in autumn are involved in a joyous striptease.

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Half in Love with Easeful Death

In his haunting “Ode to a Nightingale,” Keats imagines himself as a homesick Ruth standing “amid the alien corn.”

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Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here

“Sandy” conjures up for me a traumatic childhood reading experience along with a passage from “The Tempest.”

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Hurricanes Make Us All Poor, Infirm, Weak

The onslaught of Hurricane Sandy reminds us of King Lear’s storm experience.

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The Rain Falls Soft as the Fall of Moccasins

Describing the slaughter of the buffalo herds by whites, Mary Oliver draws on Sioux religion to imagine them as not altogether gone.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

An ABC of Radical Ecology

Scott Bates’s ABC of Radical Ecology calls for us to keep fighting to save the environment.

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Beasts of the Southern Wild–Our Future?

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” points to the devastation coastal communities can expect from climate change.

Posted in Beasts of the Southern Wild (film) | Also tagged , | 2 Comments

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

An afternoon spent in a friend’s boat brought to mind Huck and Jim watching the Mississippi River.

Posted in Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A Summer Moment of Perfect Being

Li Po’s poem captures the joys of a summer hike in the mountains.

Posted in Po (Li), White (E. B.) | Also tagged , , | 2 Comments

Dream of Wild Horses

French poet Frédéric Mistral dreams of wild horses breaking free of civilization’s fetters.

Posted in Milstral (Frédéric) | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A Snake That Refused to Be Used

This Scott Bates looks at Pentecostal snake handlers from the snake’s point of view.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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