Nature I

Tonight, moth wings of snow
against the glass, black trees silent.
I’m thinking about everything that’s dormant
within us. How the frankness of first love
falls away into another world. Long ago,
with crouched hearts we crept above
the sound of parents’ sadness to your narrow room,
polished stones and arrow heads on the window sill.
Outside, the green of northern lights. shhhhh. Listen.
In this place we adored not only the body, but what rose
from it: that fierce wonder of the land. Love of snowy owls
and horned larks, the white weasel in winter.
Here, we remembered digging into
mouths of grass, small fists of fossil and fell,
original smell still on our skin. That night,
we were animals leaning against
the gates of the garden.

~ Rosemary Griebel

I am a Calgary writer and librarian, and have been published in a variety of media: anthologies including Writing the Land, CBC Radio, literary journals, chapbooks, and on public buses. I live in a century-old house on the Bow River with 1 good husband, 2 old cats, 1 shy ghost, and a wild garden.

My poems, “Nature I and II,” were written in a Vancouver hotel room during the holiday season. Being removed from the land and prairie light provided the distance I needed to think about all I loved and all that is threatened by time and disregard for the environment.

Read more of Rosemary Griebel’s poetry:
The Quiet Gaze of Bison
Clam Digging in the Battle River

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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