Issue 5, September 2019

Earth Poems

Rachel Carson, c1940. US Fish and Wildlife Service, from Wikipedia.


Founding editors: Moya Pacey and Sandra Renew
Guest editor: Tricia Dearborn
Production: Tikka Wilson


Introduction to ‘Earth Poems’ Tricia Dearborn
When We Were Called Farm Children Katie Assarian
Rhythmic Oscillations Magdalena Ball
Picking Blueberries with Grandma Sabo Gina Bernard
Out west Emily Bourke
I will fall sick if you photograph me Jhilam Chattarai
Most Deadly Emilie Collyer
a jellyfish quilt, shaped like a family Jennifer Compton
The dusky grasswren PS Cottier
Sisters Diana Donovan
Sermon 1 Cheryl Dumesnil
Stone Tree Breath Anne Elvey
Drive-In Lauren Fancher
Far and Wild Irina Frolova
Underground Kathryn Fry
Reprisal Elizabeth Galoozis
Mastery Kathy Gee
Continuous Bloom Gwendolen Gross
There Will Be Noise Hazel Hall
The Lure  Sonia Hamer
Crossings A Hampford
True South A Hampford
The Sea Calls My Name Gail Hennessy
Eulogy: a reef Elanna Herbert
Love Story Wynne Hungerford
Sadness Is A Skeleton / In The Museum Cafe Jill Jones
The Solace of Small Things Rebecca Jung
He kawau mārō Michaela Keeble
Hongoeka love poems Michaela Keeble
The Great Remembering Kathy Kituai
Tabula Rasa Penelope Layland
A Secret Midtown Garden LindaAnn LoSchiavo
The Girl from the Coast Jennifer Mackenzie
Sirenia at the Lido Julie Maclean
Blamestorming Carolyn Martin
The Nature of Tea Diane Martini Richard
Imagine Becoming the Sea Victoria McGrath
Monet knew what it was all about Amanda McLeod
Hold Alexa Mergen
Tract Alexa Mergen
Synchronised Swimmers Found Dead In Australian Waterway Rosalind Moran
Not in My House Diane Mulholland
The moon gives earth a piece of her mind K A Nelson
Hometown Stephanie Niu
Vision of America Stephanie Niu
Hawthorn Magic Gabrielle O’Donovan
This Lovebite Rosa O’Kane
Earthrise Kate O’Neil
Abercrombie River Algorithm Christine Paice
The week when nothing happened Sue Peachey
To Ferry Landing Sue Peachey
The Sky Talks Kailah Peters
One in a hundred years Meredith Pitt
Westward Vanessa Proctor
Pocket Rocks KA Rees
The Earth Accept its Daily Prophet: To Mary Oliver H.E. Riddleton
Summer Maggie Shapley
Joy Laura Jan Shore
Consumption Jamie L. Smith
Small Blessings Skaidrite Stelzer
The Finch Katie Stockton
I Kneel to the Muddy Water in Me Dawn-Hunter Strobel
Desert Poet Patricia Sykes
From waltz to rock ‘n’ roll Robyn Sykes
Close to the sky Sarah Temporal
Dawn Swim Helen Thurloe
Impossible in Hungarian Helen Thurloe
Species, Manifold Catherine Trundle
Little ‘Berg in the Big City Susan Wardell
Gathering Snails in the Mani Jena Woodhouse
Shelled Kylie Yockey
Thou Art a Magnet Yvonne

Or you can browse all poems on one very long scrolling page.

Provocation: Earth poems

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.

Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder, 1965

The contemporary environmental movement was ignited by a woman.

Rachel Carson, c1940. US Fish and Wildlife Service, from Wikipedia.

Rachel Carson, born in 1907 in Pennsylvania, trained and worked as a marine scientist, later becoming a full-time writer. One biographer, Paul Brooks, described her as ‘a realistic, well-trained scientist who possessed the insight and sensitivity of a poet’. Her three books about the sea were described by biographer Linda Lear as ‘drenched with miracle’. The second of the trilogy, The Sea Around Us, was a bestseller and won national awards.

In 1962, Carson published Silent Spring, which documented the far-reaching consequences of the widespread use of organic pesticides. Carson had not wanted to write this book herself, but told long-time friend (and possibly lover) Dorothy Freeman that ‘There would be no future peace for me if I kept silent.’

Ill with cancer before Silent Spring was published, Carson never got to write about the next topic to fascinate her: ‘We live in an age of rising seas,’ she wrote. ‘In our own lifetime we are witnessing a startling alteration of climate.’

Nowadays, when we hear the word ‘environment’ what often comes to mind is the destruction that’s been wrought. But the springboard for Carson’s superb writing was her keen observation of, connection with, and deep love for the natural world.

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction.

Rachel Carson, John Burroughs Medal
acceptance speech, 1952

As guest editor for issue 5 of Not Very Quiet, ‘Earth poems’, I am looking for poems of observation, connection, and – yes – passion.

Possible questions to consider:

  • In what ways do you/we love and honour the planet whose ecosystem we are a part of?
  • How do you/we celebrate the beauty and magnificence of the natural world (whether in a city or in the wilds), mourn its losses, and/or strive to protect it?
  • Indigenous writers are also invited to consider: how can Indigenous knowledges and perspectives be used to preserve the earth and its life forms?

I’m looking for strong, original, compelling work, from wherever you may be on the planet. No restrictions as to form.

Tricia Dearborn
Guest editor, Issue 5