donald justice

Mindful Poetry: Florida and Nature

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I didn’t think I would… but I love Florida!!!!

The beaches, the people. the businesses, the nature… THE BEACHES!! I think Florida has some of the prettiest natural areas in the U.S., maybe even the world.

That being said, I found some really wonderful poems this week that explore a few poet’s reactions to Florida environments, focusing on what emotions were triggered by the natural landscape.


Sandpiper

The roaring alongside he takes for granted,

and that every so often the world is bound to shake.

He runs, he runs to the south, finical, awkward,

in a state of controlled panic, a student of Blake.

The beach hisses like fat, On his left, a sheet

of interrupting water comes and goes

and glazes over his dark and brittle feet.

He runs, he runs straight through it, watching his toes.

—Watching, rather, the spaces of sand between them,

where (no detail too small) the Atlantic drains

rapidly backwards and downwards. As he runs,

he stares at the dragging grains.

The world is a mist. And then the world is

minute and vast and clear. The tide

is higher or lower. He couldn't tell you which.

His beak is focused; he is preoccupied,

looking for something, something, something.

Poor bird, he is obsessed!

The millions of grains are black, white, tan, and gray,

mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst.

-Elizabeth Bishop


Memory of a Porch

Miami, 1942

What I remember

Is how the wind chime

Commenced to stir

As she spoke of her childhood,

As though the simple

Death of a pet cat,

Buried with flowers,

Had brought to the porch

A rumor of storms

Dying out over

Some dark Atlantic.

At least I heard

The thing begin—

A thin, skeletal music—

And in the deep silence

Below all memory

The sighing of ferns

Half asleep in their boxes.

-Donald Justice


Fabliau of Florida

Barque of phosphor

On the palmy beach,

Move outward into heaven,

Into the alabasters

And night blues.

Foam and cloud are one.

Sultry moon-monsters

Are dissolving.

Fill your black hull

With white moonlight.

There will never be an end

To this droning of the surf.

-Wallace Stevens


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