• Inspiration

    A Garden Poem to Relax Your Spirit

    Garden in Hawaii, palm trees, araucaria

    I love how reading a poem can almost instantly alleviate stress. So I thought I’d share this sweet bit of verse from W.S. Merwin. Not only does it capture the beauty of an everyday moment, it tells us a little story. We learn about the narrator’s history, age, and how his garden exists with or without him. Merwin lived for many years in Hawaii, restoring a few acres of treed land he preserved as the Merwin Conservancy (not pictured above). Lucky for us he did.

    If you need a silent moment of relaxation, read this. You can hear the soft chiming as if you were there.

    Garden Music

    In the garden house
    the digging fork and the spade
    hanging side by side on their nails
    play a few notes I remember
    that echo many years
    as the breeze comes in with me
    out of the summer light
    they know the notes by now
    so well that the music
    seems to be going on
    all by itself in the shade
    of the roof I made for them
    half my life ago
    and I see the garden now
    far away in itself
    reflected in the polished spade
    as a place I have never been
    while the music goes on
    echoing the days

    –W.S. Merwin, from The Moon Before Morning, (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). Copyright 2014 by W.S. Merwin.

    For another garden poem by W.S. Merwin, click here.


  • Daily Stress ReLeaf,  Plants & Happiness

    #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


  • Inspiration

    Peering into Darkness

    Crow Photo, Raven, Might and Main Monday: Peering into Darkness, Karen Hugg, Photo by Tyler Quiring, https://karenhugg.com/2018/11/19/edgar-allan-poe/ #books #edgarallanpoe #poetry #crow #raven #creepyquotes

    Hey everyone, today’s inspirational quote comes from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven.” If you don’t know it, you may want to check it out. It’s creepy and musical and lovely, about how a young man, who, one night while sitting by the fire, hears a raven tapping at his door. When he opens the door and the bird flies in, the bird haunts him, reminding him of his lost love, Lenore. Through the repetition of the word “Nevermore,” the raven eventually drives the narrator mad. He’s tortured not only by his lost love but also by his own mortality.