Nature II

You remember the simple smell of dirt
driving winter roads to Fort McMurray
where malls are overweight with stuffed shoppers
who cannot consume enough in this new Eden.
As a child you burrowed deep into leaf rot
and worm tunnel, inhaled darkness of badger and bone.
Paradise: earth, breath, sky above.
It was before you understood you were Eve, cast-out
into a world that had to be remade and renamed,
a new world, marked with hungry ghosts of gas wells,
methane skies, misshapen seasons, dirty brine
feeding the exhausted snow of winter.
Yet somewhere in you lives that green memory
when the land lay down at night and listened to the moon,
carrots were sweet and orange on the tongue, poppies bloomed
the colour of summer. Everything was connected.
Ancestors wheeled among the galaxies, and earth was home.

~ 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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