July 2020 Poetry of Nature Walk + Poems

Charlotte Town Park | Vermont

Poetry explorers from Vermont, Connecticut, Chicago and Australia gathered online to enjoy a beautiful trek through Charlotte Town Park in Vermont to explore 4 different types of perspective poems and create their own inspired by vistas, visuals and experiences along our walk.


IT'S 4AM SOMEWHERE | Heather Swick | Sydney, Australia

HOW COULD I EVER KNOW? | JC + The Poartry Project
How could I ever know
a pandemic is afoot,
sitting at the top of this ridge?
The lichen on this weathered,
grey-wooded bench
with its gentle curve of form
– as it ever is –
maybe some a little more faded
from the dusty green
towards a mossy future charcoal.
How could I ever know
with the butterflies in
playful coupled dance
and the ant in industry
scouting the bench?
How could I ever know
with the vista sprawled unending
like an unselfconscious sunbather
in all their luscious form –
bushy greens  inviting hands and fingers
to explore the folds
and bathe in the frisson waters
that vibrate the string of delight?
How could I ever know
the sky is falling
for those with little
as sailboats tack silently
back and forth
under comforter clouds
as a poet who knows these parts
and its folds intimately
lies recumbent further south
reaching towards the hand
of the Constant Companion*?


*”The Constant Companion” refers to the subject of the poem below, “Munch’s Madonna”, written for the June 2020 Voicing Art Poetry Reading. It was inspired by Edvard Munch’s “Madonna” lithograph. The poem offers an alternative view of death and an alternative interpretation of the lithograph’s symbolism, which is invariably sexualized, eroticized and made scurrilously prurient and heretical through the pontification of old white dudes. But Munch was known to be familiar with the universal wisdom and symbolisms of the “golden threads of good”, and so the alternative interpretation, which is informed by modern understandings of the perennial golden threads, is likely closer to the mark.


MUNCH’S MADONNA | JC + The Poartry Project


How would we be different
if we reckoned Death as a beautiful woman
skin of radiant light and nocturnal hair
liberator and warrior of the spirit
with the gentle kiss of belladonna lips
releasing us into the slipstream of continuous being?

How would we be different
if we knew Death as the Angel
banishing the creeping hood –
and the bony joint –
and the shadowed scythe reducing us to wheat
to be cut down –
not raging into an encroaching night
but walking tall and elegant into dawning day?

How would we be different
towards the most gentle companion of the radiant hand
walking with us tenderly –
the one sure presence
as we walk the sacred ground
towards our hidden home
that some of us remember –
who knew us before
and will know us again,
whose living credo is, ‘do no harm’,
as the maternal guide
into the hallowed halls
the omnipresent Beauty
of the dawning Morning Star
and Mother of the World?

How would we be different
if we walked our ground,
collecting the gems of experience
to eagerly share with our Constant Companion
upon completion of mission
and return to home base,
filling the communal basket
with a life full-lived?

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