Friday, April 14, 2017

To everything there is a season #NPM17 #phenology

Leaf buds on the oak tress are swelling and greening. More and more people are heard, or overheard, complaining about our extended spell of dreary, cloudy weather. Parts of the red maple flowers and leaf buds(?) are littering roadsides, fields and lawns. Grass has started to green up but remains predominantly tan. Grass fire season has arrived. I still haven't been out to look for or at wildflowers. (Refer back to the second sentence to discover a source of dampened enthusiasm.)

Spring is a new beginning, soon
Spring soon will turn to a new beginning
Photo by J. Harrington

We're almost to mid-April. Today, Good Friday, is the fourteenth day of National Poetry Month. The fourteenth suggestion (of 30) on how to celebrate this month is "Write an exquisite corpse poem with friends." (If you don't want to follow the link, it's like creating a poem in a "hangman" fashion--sort of--while wearing a blindfold.) I've read and heard of the activity before, but don't recall the particular name used. It seems to me something similar could be done using a magnetic poetry kit, with each of the player-poets choosing a different magnet, although, if your refrigerator door (and sides) are like ours, there's no room for more magnets nor messages. Maybe try using a non-aluminum cookie sheet on the dining or kitchen table?

Today's Writers Almanac reminds us that, on Sunday, April 14, 1935, "the Great Plains region experienced one of the largest dust storms in American history." We, Americans, settlers and colonists, created the Dust Bowl and the dust storms that accompanied and produced the Dust Bowl. We abused and misused natural resources. Three generations later we're doing our best to avoid the kind of sensible behavior that could keep us from turning the entire planet into a dust bowl, and us with it. I think a large part of our problem is that we've lost our collective ability to listen to messages like the one Pete Seeger derived from the Bible, the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. Seeger created many of his songs by adapting existing material. That's not all that different than creating an exquisite corpse poem, using poetry magnets, or making a "found poem." Poets, and creative farmers, learn to create beauty from what's available. These words seem to me to fit well on this weekend in these times.

Pete Seeger:Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There Is A Season)



To Everything
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
Turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To Everything
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
Turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To Everything
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
Turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late


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