Category Archives: Earth Day

A poem for Earth Day


In your story of bees,
they slowly fill an outside wall—
three stud-spaces wide, two storeys high—
in the front bay of your old farmhouse.
You first try all the poisons,

even your pickup set
to run all day, its exhaust
piped into a hole in the wall—
while you go away, hoping the fumes
will kill them. But no.

So on a winter’s icy morning
you pull the siding off
and scrape out, storey by tall storey,
thick clots of comb and honey,
clumps of stiff, chilled bees.

They had to go. No question.
But tell me again, please,
how you stood inside and breathed—
in summer’s reckless heat—
the fragrance of their work,
wild perfume of wax and flower.
Say again how you pressed your ear
tight to the wall, heard the house humming,
felt its blur of countless wings,
a fine, even tremble.

— Paulann Petersen, 1998 (born in Portland, 1942)
Oregon’s sixth Poet Laureate (serving two terms: 2010 – 2012 and 2012-2014)



by Kirah Van Sickle
Mixed media and collage on paper



Poems – Earth Day 2018 (April 22)



All night the wind
Yelled at the house,
The trees squeaked and hushed
But the wind would not.
All night the trees complained
And the rain rushed and rained.

Now in the cool
Morning the trees stand, tall,
Still and all composed—
Sun on their sunny pages.
Of the storm only the riled
Creek remembers; and rages.

–Thomas McGrath (American poet, 1916 – 1990)
This poem is from Selected Poems 1938 – 1988, pub. 1988



Praising Spring

The day is taken by each thing and grows complete.
I go out and come in and go out again,
confused by a beauty that knows nothing of delay,
rushing like fire.  All things move faster
than time and make a stillness thereby.  My mind
leans back and smiles, having nothing to say.
Even at night I go out with a light and look
at the growing.  I kneel and look at one thing
at a time.  A white spider on a peony bud.
I have nothing to give, and make a poor servant,
but I can praise the spring.  Praise this wildness
that does not heed the hour.  The doe that does not
stop at dark but continues to grow all night long.
The beauty in every degree of flourishing.  Violets
lift to the rain and the brook gets louder than ever.
The old German farmer is asleep and the flowers go on
opening.  There are stars.  Mint grows high.  Leaves
bend in the sunlight as the rain begins to fall.

–Linda Gregg (American poet, born 1942)
This poem is from Alma: Poems, pub. 1985.

Earth, Earth, Earth Day ~ April 22, 2016


Morning Song

Day breaks open artlessly

across a field of switchgrass tossing

wild and easy in the windswell.

The weedy fastness gives way to a widening

brim of eastlight blazing the mist.

Spring is the dangerous season, awakening

this bee-crazed meadow to overgrowing—

and in me awe, and ache, avid to begin

like birds and the earth all over.

— Don Colburn, poet and journalist


For more about Don Colburn go to:



~ Poems for Earth Day ~

To commemorate Earth Day, April 22, 2013 two poems are featured here. Each of these just happen to be sonnets. The first one is written by New Orleans-born African American poet, Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875-1935). Her first book of poems and short stories Violets and Other Tales was published in 1895.

The second sonnet is by Robert Pinsky, who was born in New Jersey in 1940 and served as Poet Laureate of the U.S. from 1997-2000. He is currently a professor of English and creative writing at Boston University.


I had no thought of violets of late,
The wild, shy kind that springs beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

–Alice Dunbar-Nelson


Afternoon sun on her back,
calm irregular slap
of water against a dock.

Thin pines clamber
over the hill’s top
nothing to remember,

Only the same lake
that keeps making the same
sounds under her cheek

and flashing the same color.
No one to say her name,
no need, no one to praise her,

only the lake’s voice—over
and over, to keep it before her.

–Robert Pinsky from The Want Bone (1990)

Happy Earth Day April 22, 2012!

Poems for Earth Day (from the collection: Wild Song: Poems of the Natural World)

Morning Song by Don Colburn

Day breaks open artlessly

across a field of switchgrass tossing

wild and easy in the windsell.

The weedy fastness gives way to a widening

brim of eastlight blazing the mist.

Spring is the dangerous season, awakening

this bee-crazed meadow to overgrowing–

and in me, awe, and ache, avid to begin

like birds and the earth all over.


Pileated by Ronald Wallace

It’s much too big for words,

this Woody Woodpecker of a bird,

this cartoon creature

all wires and pulleys, that slams

into the old dead elm and,

for a moment, rejuvenates it:

a flicker of fire, a flare

on the gray, decaying bark.

And before we can even say it’s a,

it’s a, a . . . it’s gone,

this remnant, this

premise, taking

the sky, the light, the summer,

our blue eyes with it.


The Earth by Andres Rodriguez

She scooped a handful of shiny pebbles

from the riverbed, held them

a long time to her face,

a morning of clear light all around us.

The river stopped, the far hills glowed,

and from where we knelt

on the gritty bank

the soft summer air moved on us.

She took care for the smallest things:

remembering to touch

the unmoved stones, to breathe

with her body the whole expanse of light.

All day I dreamed the earth was rising

from bedrock, from alluvium,

to the wind’s slow motion,

a dance taking ages to perform. 


P.S. And to all those who garden, keep up your good work with the earth!