Saturday, April 22, 2017

IN HONOR OF EARTH DAY


The photo featured atop this entry is of a tufted titmouse who is taking in the sights of Central Park. I took the image this past Saturday, April 15th 2017. I have posted a very similar one here on Blogger, in a recent blog post, where I wrote about this sweet bird type.

In any event, on the day that I witnessed this bird, watching, I had come to the park to distract my mind, from the sadness I was feeing over having been blown off by someone who had planned to meet with me (which I subsequently blogged about this past Monday).

Therefore, I was honored and humbled to see this tufted titmouse, as well as to meet another bird type; who can be seen in the pictures below.



If you have been following me here on Blogger and or on Facebook, you probably know that after some research, I had thought the creature was a Savannah sparrow.

And, you may also know, that I have recently learned that this creature is a White-throated sparrow, which I discussed in one of yesterday's entries here on Blogger.

In any event, last Saturday when I encountered the tufted titmouse as well as the White-throated sparrow, I saw a number of bird types, including an American robin, who can be seen in the next set of pictures.



As you can see, this creature is doing some flora-ing (what birds call the act of observing flowers, a habit which is discussed in the book Words In Our Beak Volume One.)


And this robin certainly had reason to be impressed by the flowers that are blooming in NYC's Central Park!

Therefore, in honor of today's celebration of Earth Day, I'm sharing a few images of the flowers which I saw in the park last Saturday;








for upon my reflecting on this experience, a poem comes to my mind which is Hamatreya. The work is by Ralph Waldo Emerson; and in honor of Earth Day, and this National Month of Poetry, I've posted a copy of it below:

Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint, 
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil 
Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool, and wood. 
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm, 
Saying, “’Tis mine, my children’s and my name’s. 
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees! 
How graceful climb those shadows on my hill! 
I fancy these pure waters and the flags 
Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize; 
And, I affirm, my actions smack of the soil.”

Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds: 

And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough. 
Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys 
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs; 
Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet 
Clear of the grave. 
They added ridge to valley, brook to pond, 
And sighed for all that bounded their domain; 
“This suits me for a pasture; that’s my park; 
We must have clay, lime, gravel, granite-ledge, 
And misty lowland, where to go for peat. 
The land is well,—lies fairly to the south. 
’Tis good, when you have crossed the sea and back, 
To find the sitfast acres where you left them.” 

Ah! the hot owner sees not Death, who adds 

Him to his land, a lump of mould the more. 
Hear what the Earth say:—  

 EARTH-SONG 


          “Mine and yours; 

          Mine, not yours. 
          Earth endures; 
          Stars abide— 
          Shine down in the old sea; 
          Old are the shores; 
          But where are old men? 
          I who have seen much, 
          Such have I never seen. 

          “The lawyer’s deed 

          Ran sure, 
          In tail, 
          To them and to their heirs 
          Who shall succeed, 
          Without fail, 
          Forevermore. 

          “Here is the land, 

          Shaggy with wood, 
          With its old valley, 
          Mound and flood. 
          But the heritors?— 
          Fled like the flood's foam. 
          The lawyer and the laws, 
          And the kingdom, 
          Clean swept herefrom. 

          “They called me theirs, 

          Who so controlled me; 
          Yet every one 
          Wished to stay, and is gone, 
          How am I theirs, 
          If they cannot hold me, 
          But I hold them?” 

When I heard the Earth-song 

I was no longer brave; 
My avarice cooled 
Like lust in the chill of the grave. 

A line in this poem, “The earth laughs in flowers," has often been attributed to e.e. cummings, but as you can see, it actually appears here in Hamatreya. A slight misquote, its meaning taken out of context is quite different than in the poem which is a fact that Karen Joslin has written about.

Joslin points out that "The full line in the poem reads:

“'Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.'

"Out of context, it’s warm-and-fuzzy imagery. In context, it’s an illustration of nature’s supremacy, mocking the arrogance of a humanity which thinks it holds dominion over Earth – an immortal force created long before we existed and which will remain long after we’re gone. I find the quote more interesting with the nuances of meaning the poem presents, and I can’t help but wonder if Emerson would be dismayed to see it printed on coffee mugs as a happy pick-me-up.

"And yet, I like it as a happy pick-me-up, too. For me, it’s an excellent reminder to live in the moment, to pay attention to fleeting instants of beauty, and to appreciate what I have when I have it. Because as Emerson points out, the nature of life is transitory. But unlike Emerson, I don’t look at death as something to be feared; I’d rather look at life as something to be celebrated."

I also wrote (here on Blogger) about the poem, Hamatreya, back in 2011, but without the keen insight of Joslin's. Be that as it may,  I think that Hamatreya, is the perfect poem as a means to pay homage to Earth Day!

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