A Quiet Moment
Written by Rachel Wohlander
April 3, 2017

Whether you’re emerging from a cold winter, or a much-needed rainy season like us here in California, may we be the first to welcome you out of quasi-hibernation. Many a great novel, album and painting has come from artists being driven indoors by cold and snow. And though those wintry snuggle-up-with-the-dog days can be relaxing, it’s also nice to put on the short sleeves and sun that pasty skin. Only, maybe you’ve noticed this too. When things pick up in the spring, they really pick up.

Americans are especially guilty of falling into the busy trap. Especially when trying to balance family and making a living with a creative practice that perhaps does not (yet?) pay the bills, time for solitude and reflection is essential, and hard to defend. Terra Cultura strives to be a community that blurs the line between what we consider to be work and what we consider to be creativity. When we get bogged down in the bureaucratic side of starting up this here agroecology & arts hub, we must remind ourselves to practice what we preach.

With that in mind, we asked some of our friends to show us their favorite nature-themed poems. We’ve got some fun interviews brewing for you in coming weeks. But this week, we invite you to pause for some daydreamy drifting through these quiet thoughts and images. Hopefully, poems like these may help us to take heart when the battle gets harry. If you have a favorite poem of the wild, we’d love it if you shared it in the comment section! Thank you to everyone who has contributed.


Selected by Jock Barge:

By Seamus Heaney

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.


Selected by Heather Keaton:

The Kittens of August
by Richard Brautigan

The kittens of August are 3/4s cats now

and all the leaves have fallen from the two trees

by the creek that were so short a time ago shade,

and now the hunters are sighting in their rifles for:







I can hear them methodically banging away at

imaginary targets that will soon be made real.


Selected by Brittany DeNigris:

by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?


Selected by David Plescia:

For the Children
by Gary Snyder

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us,
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light


Selected by Jennifer Echanique:

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
By Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Selected by Roy Clark:

The Eye
By Jan Carew

My ‘fore-day morning dream lingers ,
Like dew,
Deep in the chalices of balsa flowers;
And in the cool evenings,
Tinamous sing,
And bees click their feet like castanets.
Hoarse cocks,
Heralds of death and not of dawn
Rehearse their clarion calls all night.
Death is on the verging grass,
Where streets of eternity
Rush past
The twisted sentinels of Saman trees,
leading North.
The earth wears glaciers on a wrinkled brow,
And borealis twilights.
The Eye of Cyclops
peers at the distant sun


Selected by Michaela Pozner:

i thank you God for this most amazing
by: E.E. Cummings

i thank You God for this most amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


Christina Farella selected Robin Blaser’s Image-Nation 12 (Actus, but I couldn’t find it online, so I offer you this instead, which also seems appropriate:

Image Nation 19 (the wand
by Robin Blaser

I  have told many things and want
to tell more in a small time    to count far off,
since ‘nothing distinguishes me
ontologically from a crystal, a plant,
an animal, or the order of the world’
and ‘we drift together toward
the noise and the black depths
of the universe’      celebrate the
sudden hang-up of our visibility,
celebrate the sudden beauty that
is not ourselves     careless   unwrapped
(ducis)   the solar origin drifts
in the same boat
what did
dance in this dancer     was
first the difference among poppies and
white horses of advertisements,
the snow-storm and the grapes
from Africa     and the smile, exactly
and repetitions, but joyous, wintering
in Sais, writing memorable letters out
of the shattered various crystals, rocks, grottoes,
leaves, insects, animals, large and
small      ‘plenitude and enchainment,
wings, eggshells, clouds and snows’

so, to have forgotten, from the inimitable
solar mix, ‘unwilling to become a
higher key’   on Bach’s bedside table,
Leibniz’s De Arte Combinatoria,
at the last minute—numbers
and numbers, multitudes as
the wind is, fish, I had
forgotten miracles and money
in the mouth of, walked by, in
my lanterned garden where the
nightingale, sometimes jugged to our
joyance, various, pitch and
glass of magic grammar
and presentiments—the fabled
universe, solvent and fortunes,
the assiduous sweetness among
other stones

there we have headed for frying pans,
hospitable, and alone, or the same,
voiceless in the common name,
scattered colours, earlier shapeless,,
a candy-wrapper with a phone number
on it suffices to call the largeness, and
the smallness—what of that & on the
clothes-line, stiffened handicraft
of meaning, amenable comfort—and
Persian cats, where the rugs
flowered       take ‘real’ life
and store it in the cupboards,
the shoe-strings and decorations
of natural trees—whisper and
whistle of missing leaves—it’s
winter—or summer      or some
other time in the great ritual
of plenitude and enchainment

the infinite who belongs to this race
of many things, the gentle death,
ignorance, and innocence last
summer, the youth of it, the
violence with roses and ivy,
sensible words, laughing rose
petal or someone     the inner
music has worn out—amidst broad
leaves and harbours, linked to
the observer,     submerged
or proximous, exactly like that
which he loves, startling noise,
clarity and shadow, the heights
of ourselves equal to our shadows,
night and day, the miracle of
many things, the ‘proliferation
of geneses’

1 . Where is the point of view? Anywhere
at the source of light. Application,
relation, measurements are made
possible by aligning landmarks.
Attention. One
can line up the sun and the top
of the tomb, or the apex of the
pyramid and the tip of its shadow.
This means that the site may
not be fixed at one location.

2. Where is the object? It too must
be transportable. In fact, it is,
either by the shadow that it casts
or the model that it imitates.

3. Where is the source of light?
It varies, as the gnomen.

It transports the object in the
form of a shadow. It is the
object; this is what we will
call the miracle.             

most beautiful         stars, balls, ) Serres
tinsel, bubbles, red water, the wand



Written by Rachel Wohlander

Rachel Wohlander is a co-founder, and the executive director of culture and education at Terra Cultura. She is an interdisciplinary artist and educator with a background in performing arts and creative writing.


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