Celebrate spring, open space, and the literary art of poetry on the trails in Ayer’s Pine Meadow Conservation Area. Poets have long been inspired by the natural world. Our selection of ten poems represent diverse voices including a 17th century haiku master and the Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. Arbor Day, Earth Day, and National Poetry Month all fall in April! Please enjoy this synthesis of nature and literature as you walk Pine Meadow’s trails.
1: “The Old Pond” by Matsuo Basho 松尾 芭蕉 (1644 – 1694)
Basho was a 17th -century Japanese Haiku master. He set aside his status a Samurai to immerse himself in the life of a poet and critic.
2: “April Rain Song” by Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967)
Hughes is recognized as an innovator of jazz poetry, which mimics jazz music’s rhythm. His work also included prose and plays. He influenced the Harlem Renaissance.
3: “Nature is what we see–“ by Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)
Dickinson was born in Amherst, MA. Her work was not collected and published until after her death. She wrote on scraps of paper, including the insides of envelopes.
4: “The Chipmunk” by Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)
Nash was a teacher, ad man, and bond salesman before becoming a full-time poet. He also wrote song lyrics for a Broadway show.
5: From “Earthrise” by Amanda Gorman (1998 – )
Gorman is a graduate of Harvard University and the first US Youth Poet Laureate. She read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at Joe Biden’s inauguration in 2021.
6: “The Praise of Rain” by Joy Harjo (1951 – )
Harjo was born in Tulsa, OK and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the current 3-term Poet Laureate of the US and the first Native American to hold this honor.
7: “Mist” by Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)
One of the most well know writers and practitioners of Transcendentalism, Thoreau lived in Concord, MA and wrote Walden on the shore of a glacial kettle pond.
8: “To a Monarch Butterfly” by Homero Aridjis (1940 – )
One of Mexico’s foremost poets and a monarch butterfly preservation activist, he is a former Mexican ambassador to the Netherlands, Switzerland, and UNESCO.
9: “Whenever You See a Tree” by Padma Venkatraman (1969- )
Venkatraman is an American oceanographer, teacher, and writer who was born in India. A poet since childhood, she has published books for children and young adults.
10: “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry (1934 – )
A poet, teacher, essayist, and farmer, Berry lives on his farm in Kentucky. Barack Obama awarded him a National Humanities Medal in 2010.