Category Archives: Green Poetry

Monthly Museletter – June 2018

Lunar_libration_with_phase2

“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s getting very close to the longest day in the northern hemisphere. Can you believe it? The days are their longest, yet if you’re a gardener you’re probably still short on time, right? I still have things to plant!

Thank you, Karla, for sharing some of the interesting links and quotes you found last month.❤ —SK

P. S. If you’re from Colorado Springs and would like Karla’s full newsletter that includes local events, you can write her at karlaann45 @ gmail.com.

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“The planet Earth, view from the American side, View type, Satellite”. 2018 by Educator57, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Honey_Bear_-_Backlit_WC_(20302280285)

“Honey Bear Backlit”, 2015, by Eric Kilby from Somerville, MA, USA via Wikimedia Commons.

My fave ideas in “50 Ways to Save the Honey Bees (and change the world)”, a book by J. Scott Donahue, are:
1. Bee Bathfill a wide shallow dish or plate with water & a pile of gravel in the center for bees to land on.
2. Ban the Bear—those plastic bear-shaped honey containers likely contain non-local honey and mostly high-fructose corn syrup & cooked honey.

 

Biomimicry at work: 14 inventions inspired by Nature.  See the “Very Fish Wind Farm” and “Firefly Lightbulbs”.

Check this out (below). A real “green team”!

 

Put a house for non-stinging pollinators like mason bees in your backyard! The Giving Tree Montessori teachers found this one at Costco.

What looks like a toy train, swims like an eel, and gathers pollution information? Find the answer to this riddle here.

Today I dug out Bernie Krause’s 1988 audiotape GORILLAS IN THE MIX, on which ALL songs are mixed voices of NATURE, from Hippos, Fish, Sand Dunes etc., . . . then I bought a new CD of it!

 

Some Bad News (from The Years Project):

For every dollar the oil/gas/coal industry spends on campaign contributions and lobbying, they get back 83 dollars in handouts from our taxpayer pockets!

The Lullaby of Our Language:
“We will never, we cannot, leave animals alone, even the tiniest one, ever, because we know we are one with them. Their blood is our blood. Their breath is our breath, their beginning our beginning, their fate our fate. Thus we deny them. Thus we yearn for them. They are among us and within us and of us, inextricably woven with the form and manner of our being, with our understanding and our imaginations. They are the grit and the salt and the lullaby of our language.” —Pattiann Rogers

Visit aurorasaurus.org where the crowd-sourced data about the Northern Lights is compiled.

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“Aurora Borealis and Australis Poster”, posted February 9, 2012, assembled by 14jbella from images found at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons

We are praying for Hawaii, even as we are lava-ing this song!

And . . .

 

“If you need sunshine to bring you happiness, you haven’t tried dancing in the rain!”
—Unknown

 

Until next month . . . have a beautiful June!

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The Glad Hand of Spring

A Forsythia inside the courtyard of ENS Ulm Copyright (c) 2005 David Monniaux WC

“A forsythia inside the courtyard of École Normale Supérieure (Paris)”, Copyright 2005 David Monniaux, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

The Glad Hand of Spring

Golden shooting stars fall toward the earth,
A fragile graceful fountain,
Refreshing mental drought.
A burst of garden laughter,
The greeter at spring’s gate,
Forsythia!

(April 17, 1989)
Virginia Gambardella

Virginia writes: “I vividly remember the day I wrote this poem. I needed a poem for the church’s monthly bulletin, and I needed it immediately, so this was composed in a few minutes for the secretary. The forsythia grew outside the office window and I had in the previous two or three year reshaped it into a fountain (as it should not have been sheared off across the top like a privet hedge). By ‘89 it was outdoing itself, so in fact, deserved an ode to its beauty.”

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virginia_gambardella

Virginia Gambardella lives in New York. She has one son, three grandchildren, and enjoys the following: people, holidays, antiques, nature, gardening, fishing, decorating, fashion, sharing knowledge, cooking, and baking. She’s a cancer survivor, a pancreatitis survivor, a widow, and the re-inventor of her life, “as necessary.”

 

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Garden Dangers

Garden-Dangers-Knoll-Buddha

Photo by Tricia Knoll.

Garden Dangers

 Five days of rain blur boundaries.

The sword ferns sharpen fiddle heads
in stretching days.

Where the wind felled the alder crown,
Buddha wears slimy leaves and algae.

How soon the woods strawberries
send out their skinny creepers.

The sun shaft stabs silence
at fungi on the alder roots.

The creek runs off its mouth
where no one cares to listen.

—Tricia Knoll

Tricia Knoll (2)
Tricia Knoll’s new poetry book, “How I Learned To Be White“, delves into how ancestry, childhood, education, and more form a concept of white privilege . . . and what work is required to see through that privilege and live in this multicultural world. She tends lavish gardens.

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On the First Day of Spring

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“Andean goose, Chloephaga melanoptera, sat in daisies”, 14 May 2014, by Francis C. Franklin of England, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Virginia Gambardella sent a “Welcome to Spring” poem to me this morning. Within minutes, I found this image of a goose in a bed of chamomile. A charming goose, a charming little poem—our offering to you all on this first day of spring. (Thank you, Jinny.)—S.K.

Earth Born Stars

A hundred stars shoot from the earth
To kiss the sun at their rebirth,
They call hello and wave to all
Who wander by my garden wall.

Then petals fade, they smile no more,
My daisies at the kitchen door

June 1, 1989

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virginia_gambardella

Virginia Gambardella lives in New York. She has one son, three grandchildren, and enjoys the following: people, holidays, antiques, nature, gardening, fishing, decorating, fashion, sharing knowledge, cooking, and baking. She’s a cancer survivor, a pancreatitis survivor, a widow, and the re-inventor of her life, “as necessary.”

 

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Monthly Museletter—March 2018

Lunar_libration_with_phase2

“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

This month we’re all about saving the planet, so roll up your sleeves and join us! (Thank you, Karla, for sharing your wonderful newsletter! ❤) —SK

P. S. If you’re from Colorado Springs and would like Karla’s newsletter that includes local events, you can write her at karlaann45 @ gmail.com.

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Promise to Protect! nokxlpromise.org continues the work of Standing Rock and indigenous people all over the planet.

“Goals” for 350.org’s 2018 grassroots activism :
1. Fast & just transition to 100% renewables.
2. No new fossil fuel projects.
3. Not one penny more for dirty energy.

Encourage your candidates to sign the no fossil fuel money pledge: “I pledge to not take contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industry and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.”
sunrisemovement.org or nofossilfuelmoney.org

Give it away (or throw it away or sell it):
“Messing & stressing” are linked, so try the 21-a-day toss and see if you feel better!

Take the Chain off your Brain: Goddess statues and elegant animals come to life in Nina Paley’s animation that’s guaranteed to make you move.

 

Goodbye plastic, hello ETEE organic reusable food wrap (another gift from honeybees)

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall

SPC 3912-B Photographic views and portraits made 1867-74 in the

Arapaho camp, View of Camp —Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, In: Wilbur Sturtevant Nye, from Plains Indian raiders : the final phases of warfare from the Arkansas to the Red River, with original photographs by William S. Soule. University of Oklahoma Press, 1st edition, 1968

Two worldwide tech competitions for the XPRIZE, from NRG Cosia: Make drinking water out of thin air and transforming  CO2 power plant waste into biofuel, building materials, tires, etc.

“XPRIZE is an innovation engine. A facilitator of exponential change. A catalyst for the benefit of humanity.
We believe in the power of competition. That it’s part of our DNA. Of humanity itself. . .
We believe that you get what you incentivize. And that without a target, you will miss it every time. Rather than throw money at a problem, we incentivize the solution and challenge the world to solve it.”
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“You can create a lot of jobs drilling holes in a ship,” said one retiree against fracking in his state, “but the ship will still go down.”
a quote from the anthology Coming of Age at the End of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet, edited by Julie Dunlap and Susan A. Cohen

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“The YEARS Project is a multimedia storytelling and education effort designed to inform, empower, and unite the world in the face of climate change.”

Here’s an example of what they’re putting out there. (I think you’ll be looking at ingredients labels for palm oil after watching this.):

Here’s the Playlist Page on YouTube.  (Please share, share, share!)

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Dr. Wendy Burroughs counsels us to:
1. SAUNTER THROUGH BEAUTY (rather than hike through Life).
2. TRAVEL LIGHT (release, forgive, flow, free yourSelf).
3. HONOR YOUR NATURAL RHYTHMS (don’t push the River).
4. RE-WILD YOURSELF (revive dormant Selves).

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Another wonderful innovation, the Go Sun solar oven!

“ . . . higher plant diversity in urban areas could be one reason that city [bee] hives are healthier and more productive than many rural ones.” Kelsey Nowakowski in February 2018 National Geographic

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Please send Rain.
Please send Snow.
Please send Mist.
Please don’t blow.

Flakes are Fine.
Drops Divine.
Please send Moisture here, below.”

—Song to the Sky Beings

Apple_blossoms_Gandhi copy

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Simon’s Snowdrops (with a poem)

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Galanthus nivalis and Galanthus nivalis forma pleniflorus ‘Flore Pleno’, by Simon Garbutt, March 2006, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

The Snowdrop

by Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

 

Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid,
Ever as of old time,
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid!

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I love this upbeat end-of-winter poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson. Just what we need (or, at least, just what I need!) on a grey February day.

I found the image on Wikimedia Commons this morning. The gardener/photographer writes:

“This is a direct scan, which I made myself, from bulbs of two different common snowdrops; the normal Galanthus nivalis and its double-flowered version, Galanthus nivalis forma pleniflorus ‘Flore Pleno’. Both are common in gardens throughout Britain, and are also found naturalised in woodland.”

Thanks, Simon, and Lord Alfred, for sharing your work, your flowers!—SK

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Take Me Down to Broadfork Farm

Broadfork-farm-barn-color-Darrell-Salk

One of the gorgeous views at Broadfork Farm. Photo by Darrell Salk.

I’ve been looking forward to reading a copy of Tricia Knoll’s Broadfork Farm: Trout Lake, Washington for months. I first learned about the farm over a year ago when Tricia, a regular contributor here at Flora’s Forum, sent in her poem “Backyard Chickens”. The poem was one of my favorites, and I loved the chicken photo. Tricia explained that the hens were residents of Broadfork Farm, where she farmsat once or twice a year. She also said that a book was in the works.

Now I know farmsitting is not easyall those animals to feed and worry about, not to mention all the green and growing things to take care ofbut, oh, in return, you get to live, for a while, on a real farm!  (One of my dreams.) As a side note, believe me when I say I do not romanticize farm life. Much. I’ve had a dose of it here in town raising a menagerie of animals through the years, including rabbits, chickens and ducks, and growing food and flowers in almost every available nook and cranny. It’s not easy taking care of animals and plants. In fact, it’s a 24/7 job.

Getting to read Tricia’s book is the next best thing to a visit to Broadfork. The first passage I read is one of the few offerings not in poem form and it hooked me immediately.

“Gloucestershire Old Spots”

Two steps out of the van, the boldest little girl asks if she can hold a baby pig. I’m not a real farmer, just a stand in for these neighbor kids, friends. I choose not to answer. (The Old Spots are darn big even if they are a fifth the size they could grow to be. In this high-nineties heat they have started wallowing in mud instead of dust.)

The chaperones and kids follow me to the barn. The toddler delays at the John Deere toy tractor. I whip out my conversation starter: what do you like about your favorite friends? They say friends should be kind, gentle and fun. I say that’s exactly what Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs were bred to be . . . kind, gentle, friendly to people. Good citizen pigs. 

I rattle off that Old Spots are Princess Anne’s favorite pigs. Pigs with royal patronage, orchard pigs that can thrive on pasture grass and windfall apples in all kinds of weather. They need shade because they sunburn and can’t sweat. I do not mention how factory farms dock pig tails to keep crammed-in neighbors from biting them off. These pigs live the life pigs are meant to live. Nosing for greens, roots and bugs. Loving organic grains. Wallowing. One will live to be a very good mother. The male will be eaten at a neighbor’s Christmas Eve.

       hundreds of years
       heritage and breeding
       the perfect small farm pig

Two of these girls visited Broadfork weeks ago when the piglets arrived as timid beings with soft fur. Since then, the farmers and students have nurtured these pigs with chances for petting, clean water, sweet feed and foraging. Gone was soft fur. Added was bulk. No one asked again to pick one up. Everyone petted. We did not talk bacon. This time.

After cursory looks at the meat chicks, lambs, the big white guard dog, and the laying ducks, the adults herded six sweaty and thirsty children back to the van. I wished I’d had time to talk about duck eggs. Next stop inflatable swimming pool, the kid wallow.

That’s that. Kids mimicking pig noises. Touching. Barn Smells. Hands on. All good.

Then evening. Back to the barn to close the door to the chicken’s henitentiary. The lambs had left the barn for pasture to graze in the cool evening wind off the mountain.

I glance into the part of the barn the pigs choose for sleeping. Spooned together in straw against a wall, the two Old Spots snore. I flashback to my tiptoe nights to a crib to check on my infant daughter. Our visitors saw how fast babies grow, how we care for them. How long-time-forever we are wired to love babies, safe and vulnerable in sleep.

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“Gloucestershire Old Spots” by Darrell Salk

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This little story is a microcosm of life on Broadfork Farm, which has the humble goal to “feed a few and teach caring.” That caring, along with the sharing, the interconnectedness, and the realities of the bitter and the sweet are examined and celebrated in Knoll’s book. In it, you’ll  find a world that is mostly breathtakingly beautiful, but where the ugly isn’t sugarcoated; murderous animals, for example, exist on the farm and in the wilderness surrounding it, as do reminders of the problems of the world outside, where atrocities like terrorism, hate crime, and exploitation of humans and land sometime take center stage. Tricia shows us how all relate, all are interconnected.

One of the things I relish in Knoll’s work is that she paints with all the emotions. The delightful intermingles with the dark, and even the banal is important enough (because it, too, is part of life) to be noted. One poem, “Motha of the Bride” brought tears to my eyes, and I laughed out loud at a stanza in “Farmku”, a poem that shares over a dozen unique moments of farm-life,  haiku style.

the scarecrow
drops her bra
in the forget-me-nots

(Gosh, I love that.)

While there are many things to admire about Tricia Knoll’s work, perhaps her greatest quality is that she is an eco-poet who doesn’t overwhelm you with that message. The elegant pictures she paints with her poetry, her many astute, and sometimes wry observations of nature simply show you what she loves about this world. And through her art, you love it too.

Broadfork Farm was published by The Poetry Box and you can buy it here.

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Sandra Knauf is the one-woman-show behind Greenwoman Publishing. Her books include the six-volume series Greenwoman (compilations of literary garden writing and art), her young adult fantasy novel, Zera and the Green Man, and an anthology of sexy gardening stories that she says is the feminist gardener answer to Fifty Shades of GreyFifty Shades of Green. She was a 2008-09 featured “Colorado Voices” columnist for The Denver Post and her humorous essays have appeared nationally in GreenPrints and MaryJanesFarm. She has also been a guest commentator on KRCC’s (NPR’s southern Colorado affiliate) “Western Skies” radio show. Sandra lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her family, dogs, huge urban garden, and lots of books.
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