Many of our most pleasing and memorable experiences happen when we leave our crowded confines between walls and let ourselves free in the limitless expanses of nature. We are opened up to a whole new environment without the standard boundaries, but we are also brought back to a life when survival was key and the pleasure of nature was with us throughout our lives.
This "foreign world" ("Far from Home") of nature is certainly not beyond comprehension, but to thoroughly document a certain aspect is practically impossible. There is always something that we can feel as different about it. Features in nature are always changing, and this change happens dramatically faster than the aspects of our material world do. With each day a particular aspect of nature differs… the seasons change, the lighting changes, and in turn life adapts to the illumination and seasonal changes.
I first broke into this new place by playing outside when I was a child. It is amazing, especially in the beginning years of my life, how much the outdoors intrigued me. Whenever I finally became uninterested with something, then I would come back to find it changed and more interesting than ever before. "How is it possible for my surroundings to change so much?" Over the years this question that ran through my head was continually answered by "my surroundings don't change that much." I became to accept change and the continual cycle of the seasons as some sort of normal phenomenon.
Right about the same time that I noticed that my backyard was no longer an exciting place to hang out, I also recognized the world for what it is -- HUGE! I found many more magnificent things than I ever thought possible. Imagine having a tiny backyard that once had the potential to be fascinating, and then to discover that you have access to a world that is billions and billions times larger. Not only did I have an intense fondness to all these new things, but I also realized the reality of the greatness of this world and also the impact I can have on it and it can have on me.
Poems are an unending way in which people may express what they feel in the greatness of the world. This particular collection of poems has a plethora of ways in which people choose to express themselves, all based around the main subject of nature. In the poem "The Lower Leaves of the Trees" Sone No Yoshitada uses a very minimal amount of words and only four phrases, but the images that his poem creates replace frivolous words that would otherwise detract from the poem:
Sone does not have a specific audience, nor is there a specific speaker. The images generated are not only appealing to all types of people, but are also easily related to.The lower leaves of the trees.
Tangle the sunset in dusk.
Awe spreads with
The summer twilight.
In the poem "Uppermost" A.R. Ammons develops the item that is thought of as most insignificant "grain" into something that we strain to reach and that is able to do what we dream of doing. This shifting of stereotypes may affect us several ways. The poem gave me a sense of balance and also a nudge of confidence. It is possible for the lowest to rise to the uppermost. Beyond that I was also given a sense of bewaring and caution; who wants to be at the top? "exposed / to summit wind / it endures / the rigors of having / no further / figure to complete" (0-15). If you are at the top you will have weaknesses that other grains (under you) will evade altogether. Is it really worth the climb? This is the kind of question that nature poems create for us; we have the vastness of nature and pull it all together by relating it to ourselves.
When we climb to new heights or step into new worlds we not only gain the beauty of knowledge that we didn't know existed, but we also experience for ourselves the adventures of nature. Nature poems are a way of experiencing new aspects of life that evokes the need to experience it ourselves and use that experience to make something new that corresponds with our own selves.
|"Ocean Cave"||Luke Miller|
|"Untouchable Beauty"||Kellie Lynn Gorrel|
|"The Storm"||Claudine Kay|
|"Untitled Haiku" ("The lower leaves of the trees")||Sone No Yoshitada, tr. Kenneth Rexroth|
|"A Late Walk"||Robert Frost|
|"Far From Home"||Oliver Hanson|
|"To A Skylark"||William Wordsworth|
|"They Will Say"||Carl Sandburg|
|"The Snake" ("A Narrow Fellow in the Grass")||Emily Dickinson|
|"Shimmering Sky"||Bob Mottram|