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Spiritual Naturalist Poetry

The following is our growing collection of poetry with Spiritual Naturalist themes. Some are by classical or well-known poets and some are by people in our own community. If you would like to recommend a poem or submit one of your own, please contact us! Please note that the copyrights of these works belong to the individual authors, with all rights reserved.

Haiku Collection: Dogs, by B.T> Newberg*
Haiku Collection: Crows in Winter, by B.T. Newberg*
Haiku Collection: Beetles, by B.T. Newberg*
Fall, by Tony Schlisser*
Advice, by Brock Haussamen*
Lilies and Cedars and Corn, by B.T. Newberg*
My Spiritual Naturalist Beliefs, by Rick Bamford*
Poem by Darren Bell*
Video by Annika Garratt*
Nature, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
This I Believe, by Roger Butts
Nothing, by Richard Seymour
Nature, My Eternal Lover, by John B. Wilson
The Beauty of Nature, by Michelle LeBlanc*
More to This Life, by Michelle LeBlanc*
Meditation Time, by Michelle LeBlanc*
Sings and Wings, by DT Strain*
Thirst, by DT Strain*
Vipallasa, by DT Strain*
Stoic Mneme, by DT Strain*

(* SNS Member)
Haiku Collection: Dogs (B.T. Newberg)

In the well-worn street
A dog is barking, barking
Barking at nothing

In the marketplace
Two dogs fighting for a bone
Only one will eat

A fastidious hound
Carefully choosing the spot
Pisses on roses

Absorbed in the chase
A lap dog fetching a stick
Tramples the daisies

A three-legged dog
Loping after the others
Does it know its loss?

An ownerless dog
Wanders into a temple
Turns, breaks wind, and leaves

A gray and tired dog
Though the leash is long removed
Never leaves its yard

A wandering mut
Skinny, chapped, and raw with mange
Makes friends with a child

As a hunter bows
Before a makeshift altar
His dog licks his face

As the lords enter
In solemn ceremony
The hounds take no heed

As the witches feast
On ale and sanctified cakes
Dogs howl for the crumbs

Licking itself clean
A dog easily achieves
The aim of prayer
Haiku Collection: Crows in Winter (B.T. Newberg)
When winter descends
The somber-veteraned crows
Do not fear the cold

Undisturbed by gust
Nor gale, the well-entrenched crows
Stare down the north wind

While thirsty birds wail
For winter’s cruel frozen joke
The crows drink the snow

When others quiver
And curse, the crows swish and swoop
Without a shiver

Hopping and cackling
For a winter breadcrumb’s joy
Like a royal feast

In dead of winter
When all else is white as bones
Still the crows are black

Perching on ice-sheets
The crows hold silent vigil
For the coming thaw
Haiku Collection: Beetles (B.T. Newberg)
A struggling beetle
Emerging from the toilet
Slides into the piss

A beetle scurries
On the floor; an eye flashes
A shoe thunders down

A hounded beetle
Dashes madly for the wall
Almost, almost, al

A horn beetle rears
Its proud majestic weapon:
It’s crushed just the same

A righted beetle
Fleeing benefactor, falls
Again on its back

In a foul nook
Hides a dung beetle breathing
Single, soundless, safe
Fall (Tony Schlisser)
Cricket sighs speak lies
But pumpkin grins and sweater weather
Shout out the Truth.
Advice (Brock Haussamen)
Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.

Eat real food.
Mostly plants.
Not too much.
Lilies and Cedars and Corn (B.T. Newberg)
– 1. –
Come to me soft Gratitude:
As maiden Truth I am rolling in excrement,
Picking it up and turning it,
Molding figurines of deer and antelope,
Cedars and mountains and absolutes,
Exceeding so far in beauty
I almost forget their origins;
I cavort here with Ignorance my sweet;
He is handsome and calm
Like a well-worn shoe;
We roll the familiarity
As time goes by without a scent;
Our scent is all that we know;
It stops up our nostrils
With comfortable stucco;
The lily smell does not come in,
The cedar smell does not come in,
The ripe smell of corn does not come in;
This is our hut of mud and thatch,
Where we last forever…

– 2. –
Come to me soft Gratitude:
There was a girl once called Inspiration,
And her mother knew not who the father was,
So great was the joy of conception;
And she slipped like a causeless gift
Out of black and earthy moisture
Into the waiting hands of man,
Was caught by one-eyed Thought,
Who did not wait for the afterbirth,
But stole her away to be raised up,
And Thought renamed her Truth;
How supple-strong she was!
Like a springy rapier!
He could not help but magnify her;
And so his one precipitous eye,
Reflexive and roving as polished steel,
He plucked from out its socket,
Unpeeled in layers like an onion,
And made from the burnished shavings
A tower of glass and panel;
High up in the focal tower-loft
He laid the child in swaddles,
And the march of glass and panel
Syndicated her image,
Scattering ghosts of her beauty
Over earth and mud…

– 3. –
Come to me soft Gratitude:
There was a handsome loafe
Coursing up and down the thoroughfare
In loose-stringed sandals,
Lounging now with horsemen,
Now with flower-girls,
Now with book-men and councilors,
Making fine drama of busy-ness;
The scent of him was everyplace,
The sweat of his labors
Showed on his purchased cloak,
And the inplanes of his forearms
Clasped and clasped in greeting,
And the tendons of knee and heel
Were taut as deer and antelope,
Sure as mountains and absolutes;
Came he to a flash of light,
Dancing and cloying the soft earth;
And liking the pleasing image,
He followed it to a tremulous tower…

– 4. –
Come to me soft Gratitude:
Who is this bony man,
This no-eyed man with but one socket,
Who kneels inclined to the tower?
His arms outstretch to a play of images,
Like one struck dumb by lightning,
Or a monk on the verge of tears;
The art of glass and panel
Scintillates his consciousness
With blinding sparks of glitter,
Nor sound nor scent of other thing
Imposes enough to notice;
He does not sense the loafe approaching
In loose-stringed sandals,
Gliding like light into the crevices,
As quickly filling up the tower
With the drip of his sweat;
And there she beheld him:
The child, grown to a woman,
Vibrated her supple-strong limbs,
And cleaved to the well-worn youth,
As natural as he to her…

– 5. –
Come to me soft Gratitude:
The mother knows when her child is missing;
She senses soft disturbance,
And weeps before anyone knows why;
The little thing she called Inspiration,
Given up to the midwife Thought,
Was raised into a maid called Truth–
How could the loafe not want her?
And now her no-eyed guardian
Still palms his bony arms,
Lipping incoherent prayers
To her ripe magnificence
In long innocuous raptures;
And the mother rattles and weeps,
She weeps and hoarses and shrieks,
And her lone harpy dirge
Makes every breathing creature
Sink unto a chill;
Then blinks the bony Thought,
Shaken out of his stupor,
And lo! the tower is bare,
Vacant and empty and stale,
As if it never was filled,
And the bony Thought blinks,
And the tower is empty and bare…

– 6. –
Come to me soft Gratitude:
As maiden Truth I am rolling in excrement,
And I stink more lovely than saffron;
I cavort here with Ignorance my sweet,
And the sweat of his labor
Drips on my supple-strong limbs;
Already his mind is distant,
As we mold like deer and antelope;
In his mind he’s already abandoned me,
It is only a matter of time;
While we mold each other
Into fine-smelling absolutes,
Nor lilies nor cedars nor corn,
Only, only, only… this;
I know we’ll not last forever:
When Thought reconstructs his eye,
He will find me here discarded
In a gangrenous dung-heap,
Wreaking of molded saffron;
He will take me home in a sheet,
And bathe me in a cold spring,
Somberly set the dinner table,
And then sit there looking down,
Taking spoons of thin broth,
For the memory of my innocence.

But is there one thing here
For which I am not grateful?
My life is no more exalted,
No more flashing than gray,
Nor sharp than a tarnished mirror;
But I like this blighted existence,
That keeps me wet on the ground;
See, there is one thing here
For which I am very grateful:
My belly is growing bold,
Round and full and swooning;
Time comes by wreaking of flowers,
And still my belly swells;
Something is now inside me,
Nor of stucco nor of mold:
O my sweet unborn daughter,
My sweet and fragrant daughter!
I think I shall call you Experience;
And soon you shall know the smell
Of mists coming down off the mountains,
Of the deer and the antelope,
Of inscapes and laboring tendons,
Of black and earthy moisture,
The earth and the mud,
The long roll of familiarity,
And lilies and cedars and corn…
My Spiritual Naturalist Beliefs (Rick Bamford)
“I love nature. Not just the obvious parts of it, like trees and mountains and sunsets, but the very fabric of existence from which these evident things are wrought. Nature, the mother of us all, is everywhere and everything and every when. She is the vast cold of the cosmic background radiation from the beginning of time and the furnace beneath us in the Earth at this very moment. She is the star that sits a thousand light years away and ago, as well as my eyes that see its far journeyed light, and the sentience in my mind that allows me to both aesthetically admire its beauty and to logically make sense of it, at least to some trivial degree. I owe my existence to nature, who gives life with no promises and who may take it with no warning. Nature is neither cruel nor kind, for these are human things. Nature provides the stage upon which we fleeting beings act out are passions, dream of glory, search for purpose, weep for losses, yawn in boredom, and seek answers to questions with no answers. Nature knows all but tells nothing. We must reach out and turn the pages of her book ourselves, and too often we cannot understand her language, so we write down our own words that please us, speaking to ourselves on the universe’s behalf, whistling in the dark. But I go directly to the source, the book of nature itself, as revealed by our imperfect but tenacious sciences. I do not understand much of it, for nature hides within herself, cracks within crevices, a hall of mirrors, a net of jewels. But it is beautiful and real, as real as anything can be to me, beyond myself, for nature IS myself, and I am part of nature. To love nature is to love myself, flawed as I am, and to love the world and all the things that happen within it, as heartbreaking as they sometimes are. Nature and I are one. I recognize that and surrender myself to her. Although she does not even know my name, I love nature, my mother, the mother of us all.”

 


Poem by SNS member, Darren Bell (click to enlarge):
20130528073217-ujdpgrucausoiwwtn

 


Artist Annika Garratt’s rendition of “Panthea” by Oscar Wilde…

Panthea – by Oscar Wilde from Annika Garratt on Vimeo.

 


NATURE (Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1849)

A subtle chain of countless rings
The next unto the farthest brings;
The eye reads omens where it goes,
And speaks all languages the rose;
And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form.

The rounded world is fair to see,
Nine times folded in mystery:
Though baffled seers cannot impart
The secret of its laboring heart,
Throb thine with Nature’s throbbing breast,
And all is clear from east to west.
Spirit that lurks each form within
Beckons to spirit of its kin;
Self-kindled every atom glows
And hints the future which it owes.

 


THIS I BELIEVE (Roger Butts)

I believe in jazz.
Structure and improv. Call and response.

I believe in healing.
I have seen it so often–among many of you, in my own life.

I believe in story. “Once upon a time.”
I believe everything you ever needed to know could be found in a parable.

I believe with the Psalmist that we–you and I and all of us–can know the beauty of the lord in the land of the living.

I believe in dreams. I believe in dreamers.

I believe in something bigger than me, call it god if you’d like. I do sometimes. I believe in a god the name of which is many and never to be known but one that I call: Love that will not let us go. Fellow sufferer who understands. Holy Spirit. Spirit of Life. The inner voice of wisdom. The still, small voice. The center who listens and knows. The god who can be found in the creative movement. The one who calls us to our best selves.

I believe, more than anything, in people. People who grow. People who snore. People who curse. People who build and give and grow. People who fail. People who love, and love again. People who know wisdom occasionally.

I believe in the Chesapeake Bay. And the sea. I believe in the rising sun. And my children’s smiles. And I believe in you, in Thou. In life.

I believe that anyone at anytime can know the holy way, the good way in life. That each life is holy for its own sake. We are what we’ve got, and I believe that we have more power and beauty and love and compassion than we realize.

 


NOTHING (Richard Seymour)

All creation was preceded by Nothing.
“Nothing”, therefore, is the substance
From which all things come,
And to which they shall return.

That infinite Nothing gave rise to nature.
Nature’s perfect symmetry is instinctive.
Whatever upsets that balance can be said to be wrong.

We are all part of nature.
As such, that instinct is part of us.
To contribute to the balance of all things,
Is to live in harmony with one’s self.
To move against the effortless flow,
Is to cause disruption to our surroundings,
And so to us.

 


NATURE, MY ETERNAL LOVER (John B. Wilson, 2011)

My lover, beautiful, young and eternally true,
She caresses me, running windy fingers thru my hair, over my face,
Loving me always, yet caring not,
Ancient she is, but always renewing,
Thru the leaves she sings to my soul, faintly, deeply,
She weeps for me with heavenly tears that float on the wind,
Chilling, invigorating, the drops bite into my skin,
I stand alone, yet surrounded by her past loves,
They are gnarled and broken, as I will become,
But not yet, not yet,
She teases me, tempts me,
Golden shimmering fire reveals distant stony crags,
My destination, my never-ending journey,
The journey is my destination, ever on,
She teaches endurance, pain, truth…

 


THE BEAUTY OF NATURE (Michelle LeBlanc)

There is such beauty all around us
Beauty as far as the eye can see
From the fragrance of the flowers
To the beauty inside you and me

In the rays of the shining sun
And the beautiful skies of blue
There is such a beauty to be seen
That can be sensed through me and you

Just allowing nature’s beauty to guide us
Gives us a sense of right and wrong
Understanding the power of ’cause and affect’
As nature quietly sings out its song

You see, we are all connected through nature
Whether the details are understood or not
And the journey we are all on
Is one best learned, not taught

For we don’t all have to agree
We don’t all have to believe the same
That’s the beauty of it’s acceptance
We are all different, yet one in the same!

So lets take a lesson from nature
In all the beauty that it holds
Accepting the differences in each other
As something beautiful to be told

 


MORE TO THIS LIFE (Michelle LeBlanc)

I want to help the those who are searching rise up and believe
That there’s more to this life than what they can’t see

There’s so much focus to live for what’s beyond
Let’s live for the now, in case we’ve been conned

We don’t need a God to have morals in this life
That’s just a myth that fuels division and strife

Maybe there’s an afterlife; that could be true
But what if there isn’t?…in this life, what`d we do?

Let’s make this life count, no matter what
Holding to the positive things the Bible has taught

Love. Do good to those who have hurt us and forgive
Promote peace and kindness as reasons to live

Giving of ourselves, hoping for nothing in return
These are the kinds of things we should aspire to learn

To be an inspiration or to show unconditional love
Are moral values in many of us; it`s not just from above

Having meaning & purpose in life can still exist
So open up your mind and fight the thoughts that resist

Look within yourself and find the strength you need
It is there, my friend; just try it and you’ll see

Don’t be blinded by the views of religion
You can still have peace & joy, but it’s your decision

Surround yourself with those who are positive and kind
And the same presence of love & peace will reside in your mind

So shake off the guilt! Break free from religious pride
Look with new perspective and see the beauty inside!

Life is Amazing!

 

 


MEDITATION TIME (Michelle LeBlanc, 2015)

Beauty inside
Nothing to hide

Let it go
Let it be so

No more stress
Let it all out

Focus on your breath
Let peace flow out

Presence of love
Not from above

Inside of me
So let it be

Gentleness like rain
Relaxing my brain

Freedom from pain
Everything to gain

Meditation is free
For you and for me

Nothing to stress
Just being our best

Let it flow
Let it go

Presence devine
Nothing to mind

Love to all
Love is free

Be yourself
Let me be me!

 

<
SINGS AND WINGS (DT Strain, 1995)

Past and future combine
into a form of dynamic change
to mix and intertwine
in a pattern, prearranged.

The bat flaps its wings
as the bird sings
and it seems like only serenity.
But sings and wings
mean many more things
in this case of mistaken identity.

For the world makes the bang
and death makes the hang
when the clockmaker and the undertaker
are one in the same.

 


THIRST (DT Strain, 2011)

Before I was
the music was
and the earth and the
moon and the stars

’twas long before
those days of yore
with the girls and the
tits and the bars

And from that thirst
I planted thus
my roots in that
safe warm place

a cool vast sea
surrounds and nurtures me
in that time of
self and play

But it was not long
in my short song
before I’d hear
those fateful words

I am thirsty

 

The others in the sea
eventually
made me see where
the waters run dry

and though I’d wept before
when the sea held me
only now did I see
what it was to cry

The others and I
took it all in stride
we were here to
save the world

there was no ailment
we could not prescribe
and so we set out
flag unfurled

we journeyed wide
we journeyed far
and, oh yes, the girls, and the
tits, and the bars

Yet we were thirsty

 

We left our homes
intrepidly
that cold and
dried up sea

and though our thirst
had not quenched
we knew all the
reasons that be

but through the battles
we had waged
and the dragons
we had slain

our prescriptions failed
my friends were felled
my trinkets proved
quite plain

Alone again
but far from home
I could not
save the world

And still I was thirsty

 

My cup run dry
no tears to cry
exhausted of
reasons why

but then I see
the earth speak to me
and the sun and the
moon and the sky

Over there
behind that flag
there seems to
be a trail

my answers gone
but if I could bring
myself along
to see

if maybe be
something for me
no not me but
perhaps the sea

It is thirsty

 

The path is dark
not clear to see
but well worn and
old it seems

and as I go
I gather fruits
that fill and
nourish me

Then I come
eventually
to a place I’ve
never been

still far to go
but waters flow!
enough for the
others in the sea

I fill my cup
what little I may
and turn toward
that place I’d spurned

For they are thirsty

 

Running now
incessantly
with my little
cup I’m free

returning home
to share good news
to the thirsty
in the sea

A new crop has sprung
a new group has come
from that warm
safe place to cry

one by one
I go to them
to quench them
or to try

but they turn away
no time to drink
though even
they lament

We are thirsty

 

Yet there is no ailment
they cannot prescribe
no dragon
they cannot slay

their trinkets shine
much more than thine
and must surely
light their way

And then I see
that they nor me
could ever
fill the sea

for crying is
and will always be
it’s wellspring
by necessity

But still I wonder
what lie down
the remainder of
that path?

its waters glisten
if I will listen
not blinded by
what I hath

Though each must
find their path
to extinguish that
harsh thirst

my tongue is wet
though look forward yet
to that music
I heard first

 


VIPALLASA (DT Strain, 2013)
A poetic interpretation of the Buddhist Vipallasa Sutra, by DT Strain (2013)

Betting on constance
where change resides,
seeking one’s treasure
for pies in the sky,
grasping at rainbows
with no reason why,
and beholding of beauty
falsely derived,
Misjudgment is key
to loss of sanity.

Victim of temptation
restless yet lame
wander without cessation
in cycles of pain.

Though arising beings,
harbingers of light,
wisdom they sing
relieving this plight.

Welcome, listening and learned,
Lost sanity’s return

Seeing change
on fleeting wings,
Seeing treasures
where truth rings,
Knowing rainbows
from solid things,
Beholding Beauty
true sight brings.

With true vision
delusion’s undone
With such wisdom
Suffering overcome.

 


STOIC MNEME (DT Strain, 2013)
This poem refers to specific passages from Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, and was created as part of a course on Stoicism sponsored by NewStoa.com. My mentor was Manolo Trueba, for which I am grateful.

The slaver of self
forgetting and forgotten
olives rotting well
beauty begotten

The vicious I’ll meet
But dare I not become them
Should such vice inspire conceit
The mirror shall expose him

Find what’s in your power
Character’s the way
Adorned simply and present
Talk not, be good today

Seek light on perilous seas
and blunt the blows through
this philosophy

Master of the soul
through the fires pass
to walk amongst the ruins
of cities filled with ash