The Poetry of Nature

Red moon

The "blood moon" during the total lunar eclipse April 15 was the result of the moon passing through the Earth's shadow, into which red light from the planet's sunrises and sunsets shines. The phenomenon will occur again this year Oct. 8, and on April 4 and Sept. 28 next year.

Barry LaPoint

"There is poetry everywhere," says UNC English professor Lisa Zimmerman.

It's a concept that she works to bring to not only students in her advanced poetry class, but also to high school students and younger children as well. A coach for the "Poetry Out Loud" (see poetryoutloud.org) contest, she works with students in Eaton and with teachers at various high schools to foster a love for the language and imagery of poetry.

Zimmerman has published five collections of poetry and often suggests students keep an image journal, where they jot down what they've seen, whether it's light slanting across a cornfield or a glimpse of a bird in flight. A self-described "nature geek," she often writes about images or experiences that rise from the earth, her children, animals, and daily life.

Here, in honor of April as National Poetry Month and with a nod to the recent lunar eclipse, is Zimmerman's poem about a solar eclipse, from her book, How the Garden Looks from Here. (Snake Nation Press, 2004).

The Night After the Partial Eclipse
I gave it my best, found two pieces of cardboard,
made a hole in one, covered it with tinfoil,
pierced a smaller hole in that but it didn't matter
how I maneuvered each piece
we just couldn't see it happen as it happened
and my older girl, wrought with disappointment,
would have looked directly at the waning sun if I hadn't stopped her.

But later, when the children fell into that other shadow,
I sat outside and saw the moon, faithless tramp,
hanging next to Venus, over the lake, no less.
And together they beamed, one a brilliant gaudy scrap of light,
the other half dressed, dangling her beaded rope across the water.
begging, I suppose, for the usual forgiveness.

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