May 2020 Poetry of Nature Walk + Poems

Ethan Allen Homestead | Burlington, Vermont

From our very first Poetry of Nature Walk, incredible poetry started to happen immediately. And it led to our incredible and enriching partnership with the mentoring program at King Street Center. Mentor, Kristen, and her mentoring partner, Nyankor, came to our inaugural Poetry of Nature Walk. These mentoring partners had a spirit of adventure right from the start, and nature didn’t disappoint us! On an unusually HOT May day, we encountered a ball of baby Eastern Ribbon Snakes basking in the sun by the well at Ethan Allen Homestead. Now, not everyone loves snakes, but I do (I wanted to be a herpetologist when I was a kid), so I knew this was a rare and special opportunity. Nyankor had never seen a snake in the wild, let alone brand-new babies. I sat down near them and extended my hand gently. Nyankor’s eyes grew big and a little nervous! I shared about the harmlessness of Eastern Ribbon Snakes, and the snake parents slowly poked their heads out from under the well to see what was up. I gently touched one of the babies, and many more started pouring up out of the ground under the well! Mama and Papa Snake fully emerged, too, with gentle curiosity. I asked Nyankor if she wanted to touch the babies, and she approached a bit hesitantly. But then she got down on the ground with such beautiful natural gentleness and made contact. Her entire body flooded with wonder, and Mama and Papa Snake relaxed even more. Kristen noted what a surprising and meaningful moment it was and shared that this was the kind of profound experience that can shape the direction of a child’s entire life. It was magical! So magical, in fact, that she reached out to Gabe Tufo Strouse, mentoring superhero at King Street Center, and a match made in nirvana was born. The Poartry Project has been leading weekly Poetry of Nature Walks with King Street Center kids in June 2019, and thanks to Gabe’s generous and collaborative spirit, our mentoring work has expanded to mentoring partnerships with other organizations as well.



The snake is beautiful
it’s like looking at the dazzling
people in the world.
The turtle,
it is one
it is equal
to the lovely view
of the wind
dancing in the trees.
The snake and turtle look
colorful even though they
weren’t together.
The snake is in the home
of other snakes,
but the turtle
is a lone wolf.
The snake and turtle
are wonderful
but not as amazing
as the life around them.

By Poetry of Nature Walker, Nyankor, Age 10

THE WILLOW | JC - The Poartry Project
“A narrow fellow in the grass
…and zero at the bone”
has come full circle
in this unexpected place
in this unexpected space.
I sit with a beautiful young willow
as she reaches
a lovely finger
to join with
an equally beautiful
new friend
who isn’t used to
being touched and adored,
and as she wove the
twig of her finger
with the twine of the snake,
her eye was led to
a crack in the well,
and she saw a ball
of twine – 
all wrapped in love
and the comfort
of new home.

by JC, Poetry of Nature Walks Guide | inspired by Poetry of Nature Walker, Nyankor

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