Thursday, April 25, 2013

Becoming native to this place (thanks to Wes Jackson)

photo of Spring waterfowl in the marsh
© harrington
Open water, waterfowl, Spring! (Since I'm not writing poetry here, I can freely, but not excessively, use exclamation points.) Thanks for stopping by. Did you get out to see the sun! and the blue! skies? I hope so! Today I promised (or threatened, depending or your perspective) to bring another view of nature poetry to your attention. Can Poetry Save the Earth? A FIELD GUIDE TO NATURE POEMS by John Felstiner, claims, in a wonderful example "We grasp the natural world in poems even when it feels beyond our ken -- skyscraper redwoods slowly swaying, deer leaping a high fence seeming paused in air. Think of Helen Keller, deaf and blind from infancy. One landmark day, Helen's teacher signed W-A-T-E-R in her palm while pumping water over it, and the girl's whole face lit up. Poems speak that spontaneous sign language, wording our experience of things." The field guide is more prose about poets and poetry than poetry itself. It is, nevertheless, thought inducing. It makes me wonder how you would word your experience of our Minnesota? We have bison and prairies, trout and trout lilies, coyotes and timber wolves in the boreal forest, barred owls, waterfowl, Summer, Fall, Winter Spring (are you old enough to remember the princess by that name from Howdy Doody?) We also have Native Americans, who were here living with the earth before the arrival of Judeo-Christian capitalism and the creation of globalism. Native Americans, as you may recall, had their own names for things. Many now write contemporary poetry describing their experience of things. There's an anthology of contemporary poetry by Native Americans, edited by Kenneth Rosen, that you might enjoy. It's titled Voices of the Rainbow and contains, among other exemplars, this stanza excerpted from INDIAN SONG: SURVIVAL
You lie beside me in the sunlight
              warmth around us and
               you ask me if I still smell winter.
Mountain forest wind travels east and I answer:
                 taste me,
                       I am the wind
                touch me,
                       I am the lean gray deer
                running on the edge of the rainbow.
Leslie Marmon Silko                   
That captures much of my experience in, and why I love, My Minnesota. How about you? Have you ever tasted the wind? Try it some time if you get a chance. Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily. (Side bar note: yesterday, we were saved again by a rescue dog. This time, a beautiful, 10 month old yellow lab nicknamed CeCe came to live with us and save us from ourselves. She and Franco are adjusting nicely, thank you. Photo soon.)