Back to Nature
We took to the woods
to escape from our desks,
from our books and our podcasts,
too many reviews of arts and of letters:
from culture consumed directly
or through mediation of others.
We wanted the freshness of nature.
We walk in the woods,
we keep our eyes open
to take in the freshness of nature.
“Oh, look,” you call out,
“that squirrel with a nut in its mouth!
Sitting so still, so frozen in time –
it’s just like a statue,” you say.
“I love this blanket of leaves we wade through,
soft and deep – like a thick Persian carpet,”
I declare and continue,
“And the view up…
I walk to raise my heart rate
and my mood. To count my steps
I wear a wireless wellness monitor –
it’s called a Fitbit.
(I didn’t want to go.
Glued to my chair and screen
I’d rather keep on playing,
addicted as I am
to Solitaire and constant
buzz of broadcast news.
of these bad habits.
I should be more productive.)
Success: my shoes are on,
the door is shut behind me
and halfway up the hill
I start to see
the trees and hear
the curving cries of jays
proclaiming autumn’s onset.
I take the path into the woods,
A poem for Susan P. Bachrach (November 1939 – May 2013).
This poem was written soon after Sue Bachrach’s death, by Dorian Brooks, poet and activist for women’s and American Indian rights, and a Radcliffe classmate of mine and Sue’s. Sue was a devoted student of art history and traveled to Germany to research and write about the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker. Her essay of some 20 years ago “Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907): Woman and Artist as Revealed Through Her Depiction of Children” may be found at Fembio: Woman and Artist Through her Depiction of Children. Sue was diagnosed with…
oops – another month gone by!
time to change the calendars –
a different view of granddaughters
a different arrangement of fruit –
turn over the page and forget
the penciled appointments and events
that seemed so urgent
at the time
another month gone by
another month gone
another week gone by!
time to put the garbage out –
seven days' accretion to be dispatched,
plastic and paper to the recycling bin,
while orange peel and banana skin
will head for the dump to decay
the pile of newspapers, mostly unread,
will transmigrate and return again,
along with their stories of war…
(Deutsche Übersetzung unten)
Today we walked at Forest Hills,
Historic graveyard, well maintained,
Its residents, the living and the dead,
Ignore the charms of nature and of art.
Such pleasures are enjoyed
By those who come to walk.
A perfect day: the sun is warm, the breezes fresh;
No one in sight but for a strolling older couple –
She gives a smile, he glares and grunts –
Would they be first-time visitors,
Admiring statues by the paths
Or searching out a chiseled name?
Familiar with the stony shapes,
We focus on the living:
Below, the mushrooms throng near spruce and…