Write About Nature



Pardon me, if when I want
to tell the story of my life
it’s the land I talk about.
This is the land.
It grows in your blood
and you grow.
If it dies in your blood
you die out.

Pablo Neruda
Translated from the Spanish by William O’Daly




It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder -- everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouch'd by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.

- William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 



Barefoot at times
at other times shod
pearl without shell
shell without pearl

Silent at times
other times rowdy
as if ready
to take over the sky

Whether life appear
and as suddenly
dissolve like a stratagem

The light of limestone
can outdo the sum
of our celebrations

The majority of bones
lying scattered in the earth
are greatly in limestone's debt

Either for metamorphosis
for the resurrection of metals
or for the omnipresence of death

- Alberto Blanco
Trans. by
Joan Lindgren




Pebbles and scree. And a shard note, thin,
as the hour’s message of comfort.

Exchange of eyes, finite, at the wrong time:
the retina —:
the sign of eternity.

up there, in the cosmic network of rails,
like stars,
the red of two mouths.

Audible (before dawn?): a stone that
made the other its target.


- Paul Celan



Time like a lake breeze
Touched his face.
All thought left his mind.

One morning the sun, menacing,
Rose from behind a mountain,
Singeing - like hope - the trees.

Fully awakened, he lit his pipe
And assumed the sun-inhaling pose:
Time poured down - like rain, like fruit.

He glanced back and saw a ship
Moving toward the past. In one hand
He gripped the sail of eternity,

And stuffed the universe into his eyes

- Shinkichi Takahashi



When I was a boy I first learned how much better water tastes when it has set a while in a cedar bucket. Warmish-cool, with a faint taste like the hot July wind in cedar trees smells. It has to set at least six hours and be drunk from a gourd. Water should never be drunk from metal.

At night it is better still. I used to lie on the pallet in the hail, waiting until I could hear them all asleep, so I could get up and go back to the bucket. It would be black, the shelf black, the still surface of the water a round oriface in nothingness, where before I stirred it awake with the dipper I could see maybe a star or two in the bucket, and maybe in the dipper a star or two before I drank. After that I was bigger, older.

William Faulkner, Darl speaking
from When I Lay Dying.


This house is the place of solitude. And yet it looks out onto a street, a square, a very old pond, the village schools. When the pond is frozen over, children come to skate and keep me from working. I let the children do as they like. I watch over them. Every woman who has had children watches over those children—disobedient, wild, like all children. But what anxiety: the worst kind, every time. And what love.

One does not find solitude, one creates it. Solitude is created alone. I have created it. Because I decided that here was where I should be alone, that I would be alone to write books. It happened this way. I was alone in this house. I shut myself in—of course, I was afraid. And then I began to love it. This house became the house of writing. My books come from this house. From this light as well, and from the garden. From the light reflecting off the pond. It has taken me twenty years to write what I just said.

Still, in Trouville there was the beach, the sea, the vastness of the sky and sands. That’s what solitude was here. It was in Trouville that I stared at the sea until nothing was left. Trouville was the solitude of my entire life. I still have that solitude around me, impregnable. Sometimes I close the doors, shut off the telephone, shut off my voice, don’t want anything.

-Marguerite Duras, from Writing


The cow-speckled landscape is an ashy grey color. I am driving through flat pastureland on a rough county road that is mostly dirt, the protective gravel long ago squirted into ditches by speeding ranch trucks. Stiffined tire tracks veer off the road, through mud and into the sagebrush, the marks of someone with back pasture business. It is too early for grass and the ranchers are still putting out hay, the occasional line of tumbled green alfalfa the only color in a drab would. The cows are strung out in a line determined by the rancher's course across the field; their heads are down and they pull at the bright hay.

Annie Proulx
from Bird Cloud


In the country getting up with the cows and birds hath Blakean charm, in the megalopolis the same natureÕs hour is a science-fiction hell vision, even if youÕre a milkman. Phantom factories, unpopulated streets out of Poe, familiar nightclubs bookstores groceries dead.

- Allen Ginsberg, from How Kaddish Happened.


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nature |ˈnāCHər|


1 the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations: the breathtaking beauty of nature.

• the physical force regarded as causing and regulating these phenomena: it is impossible to change the laws of nature. See also Mother Nature.

2 [ in sing. ] the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it: helping them to realize the nature of their problems | there are a lot of other documents of that nature.

• the innate or essential qualities or character of a person or animal: it's not in her nature to listen to advice | I'm not violent by nature. See also human nature.

• inborn or hereditary characteristics as an influence on or determinant of personality. Often contrasted with nurture.

• [ with adj. ] archaic a person of a specified character: Emerson was so much more luminous a nature.


against nature unnatural or immoral.

someone's better nature the good side of a person's character; their capacity for tolerance, generosity, or sympathy: Charlotte planned to appeal to his better nature.

call of nature used euphemistically to refer to a need to urinate or defecate.

from nature (in art) using natural scenes or objects as models: I wanted to paint landscape directly from nature.

get (or go) back to nature return to the type of life (regarded as being more in tune with nature) that existed before the development of complex industrial societies.

in the nature of similar in type to or having the characteristics of: the promise was in the nature of a check that bounced.

in the nature of things 1 inevitable: it is in the nature of things that the majority of music prizes get set up for performers rather than composers. 2 inevitably: in the nature of things, old people spend much more time indoors.

in a state of nature 1 in an uncivilized or uncultivated state. 2 totally naked. 3 Christian Theology in a morally unregenerate condition, unredeemed by divine grace.

the nature of the beast informal the inherent or essential quality or character of something, which cannot be changed.

ORIGIN Middle English (denoting the physical power of a person): from Old French, from Latin natura ‘birth, nature, quality,’ from nat- ‘born,’ from the verb nasci .