Daily Stress ReLeaf

#10 A Poem Digs Deep Into Plant Love

A Poem Digs Deep Into Plant Love, Daily Stress ReLeaf, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2021/02/23/poem-plant-love, #plants #poems #WSMerwin #palmtrees #poetry #naturalworld #destressing #stress #relaxation #mentalhealth #dailystressreleaf

W.S. Merwin is one of my favorite poets because he’s intensely connected to the natural world. He digs deep into plant love through his words. Not only did he believe in the importance of preserving the environment, he lived for years in Hawaii, gradually restoring a palm forest on Maui. It now houses almost 3,000 palm trees. Within that collection, there are 125 different tree genera, which subdivide into 400 species and 800 varieties. Botanically speaking, that’s incredibly impressive.

A Vision Early On

I also admire W.S. Merwin (as well as many poets) because he understood the important relationship between our mental health and the natural world. Decades ago, he noticed what we lose as a society when we go indoors. Here’s his thoughts from the 1990s: “We go into a supermarket and we have artificial light, canned music, everything’s deodorized–we can’t touch or taste or smell anything, and we hear only what they want us to hear. No wonder everybody wanders around like zombies! Because our senses have been taken away from us for us a while. A supermarket brings the whole thing into focus. The things that are there don’t belong there, they didn’t grow there. They have a shelf life, which is being tented, so that we can buy them. It’s only about selling things. This is a very strange kind of situation, but it’s typical of our lives.”

A Moment of Peace

Here’s a lovely poem by Merwin about a tree. Notice how the poem travels to different places and where it ends. So simple and ephemeral. I hope it gives you a moment of peace.

Place

On the last day of the world
I would want to plant a tree

what for
not for the fruit

the tree that hears the fruit
is not the one that was planted

I want the tree that stands
in the earth for the first time

with the sun already
going down

and the water
touching its roots

in the earth full of the dead
and the clouds passing

one by one
over its leaves

Photo by Maria Maliy


Karen Hugg With Vines

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