The rule is,
When I name a place
I always mean the one closest to Utah.
So Paris is a small town in Idaho;
The ancient gods dwell on Mount Olympus
high in the Wasatch Mountains;
Moabites sit down to weep by the Colorado River
in the land of redrock;
And Zion is in Dixie,
away down south near the Arizona border,
So when I mention the Jordan River
I don’t mean that other one,
I mean this murky ditch,
This sluggish greygreen water
Overgrown with thorny Russian olives,
The plastic debris of modern civilization
Circling endlessly in greasy eddies,
I mean the one you float down
In your red canoe
And when you notice something pale
Sunk beneath the surface
Your breath freezes over
Because you see someone dead,
And then you laugh out loud
Because it is nothing after all
But a white plastic bag
Caught on a drowned shopping cart.
Anything but corn is considered rogue and either destroyed or prevented from growing and thriving. – Craig Childs
Of the kingdom of butterflies,
A skyful of golden wings
That carried the souls of the dead?
One monarch, in the backyard, hovering by a tree.
One monarch, on the tennis court by the chain link fence.
One monarch, on the beach, fluttering near the dunes.
One monarch in the water, drowned.
Waves surge and recede.
A faded orange wing washes back and forth.
The floss from two bags of milkweed
would fill one life jacket.
I will restore to you the years that the caterpillar hath eaten.
In the Land of Milk and Honey, milk is a weed,
Caterpillars devour poisonous milkweed,
Monarchs become orange with poison,
There is death in the pot.
The corn grows up. The waters of the dark clouds drop, drop.
Genetically modified corn
is generally thought to have negligible impact
on non-target organisms
(even after it has been refined into high fructose corn syrup).
All other organisms are targets.
Poison them all, God will know his own.
In flight over the maiden corn
Have painted themselves with pollen.
All the different kinds of corn
Drinking the Earth Mother’s living waters
Will be made into new beings.
Corn has taken up arms against the butterfly monarchy.
Corn has stuck a feather in her cap,
Corn has joined a well regulated militia.
Corn marches across fields in lockstep
Singing patriotic songs.
Where corn passes, scorched earth is left behind.
Four generations of butterfly make the journey
Following milkweed south to north, north to south.
Each year new prayersongs must be written for the dance.
Each year young people learn the new prayersongs.
Each year the beautiful world germinates.
Amy Brunvand is a librarian, writer, and part-time nature mystic from Salt Lake City, Utah. She agrees with Edward Abbey that the environmental movement needs more poets and fewer lawyers (even though some of her best friends are lawyers).
Katherine Edison is a photographer and nature lover originally from Utah, now living in Georgia. She wants to share her love of nature with others, and in doing so, hopes to spark an interest and love for the earth and its magic. See more of her work at http://kvedisonnaturephotos.smugmug.com/.
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