What a wonderful job J. Patrick Lewis did selecting poems for his new anthology, The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry. I was thrilled to see two of my favorite Undersung poets included, Adrien Stoutenberg and Robert Francis, as well as excellent contemporary children's poets like Joyce Sidman (her strange Moeraki boulders splayed by waves "like a spill of fallen / moons in sliding / surf") and Naomi Shihab Nye (in the Badlands, with "Everyone's emptiness made elegant, / even the bison, and black-footed ferret, / even the woman, even the man.") Lewis also included many poems not written specifically for children, which is such a smart decision - love to see such poets as John Clare, Wendell Berry, James Wright, John Keats, Edward Thomas - and even D.H. Lawrence! And 'natch, how exciting to see poems from all the Poetry Friday friends.
Here is the one poem I have in the book. As published, there was an editing glitch in the last line. Here's the correct version:
Thunder coming with its usual heavy hammer
and the sky strange, bubbled
with clouds, the air humming
and warning us away.
Tornado coming today with its terrible trouble
and the sky pouched,
pockets of ice and water waiting
for their own best moment to burst.
Hard weather coming, for the worst reasons:
warm air, cool air, thermal instability,
wind shear, sublimation---
we cotton to the calmest explanations.
Something coming. Could be okay, could be misery---
who knows which or why?
Look at that sky, filled with questions marks,
every mark a mystery.