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Nature poet illustration
OPEN SPACE

The Nature Poet Contemplates a Windfarm

by Brian Swann

Brecht once wrote a poem about the violent leafing of trees,
irreversible, before the city took over; about how there now
seem to be storms still, high above, but all they touch
is our aerials. As I look through washed air across
to the ridge that always sat down with me at dinner,
gray in winter, green in summer, it suddenly takes off
and moves around, a stately swoosh swoosh swoosh from higher
than Lady Liberty. There it goes, driving down the odd slow crow
or heron and real estate values. It's come to save us all
on a green hill that's not far away but right here
in my salad. The locals, a dozen families related
many times over, sit on all the boards, sell everything
they can and make fun of us refugees behind our backs.
Their ancestors would be proud, snoring in the lovely
graveyard above the white clapboard Old School Baptist church
with spectacular views they never had time to look at.
And those screws that dwarf the Titanic's swump on
round and round, pulling up the entire valley, sucking
it up -- remaining cows, some horses, a llama or two,
a bear, coyote, few bobcats, geese, rocks and stones and trees,
there they go, caught up by a slow-mo dervish, so they
don't know which end's up, and like me, who came
here seeking the still point of the turning world (Eliot), or
the deep heart's core (Yeats), they're probably way beyond irony.


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Brian Swann is the poetry editor of OnEarth. He won the Journal poetry prize for 2005 for his forthcoming book, Autumn Road (Ohio State University Press). He teaches at Cooper Union in New York City.

Illustration: Michael Morgenstern

OnEarth. Fall 2005
Copyright 2005 by the Natural Resources Defense Council