Prompt: Today is Earth Day, so I would like to challenge you to write a “pastoral” poem. Traditionally, pastoral poems involved various shepherdesses and shepherds talking about love and fields, but yours can really just be a poem that engages with nature. One great way of going about this is simply to take a look outside your window, or take a walk around a local park. What’s happening in the yard and the trees? What’s blooming and what’s taking flight?
Bird poop on the back stoop means
the doves are back loving and laying,
so I look to find their twiggy nest
peeking from the eaves,
safe from the tabby cat
who uses our fence for her highway,
far from the raccoons who sleep
in the oak tree next door,
those raccoons who once visited us
while we sat outside eating sandwiches,
watching with their little flashlight eyes.
Now that I think about it
I haven’t heard much cooing
in the early morning lately.
Maybe this means the doves
are exhausted new parents.
All the birds are pretty quiet right now,
the juncos, sparrows and chickadees
must be building and nesting,
which makes the bluebird
I saw twice last week
an even more astonishing sight,
bright with rust collar and buff belly,
a true bluebird of happiness
because seeing him hop in the grass
that is exactly what I felt.