Poetry and Acorns

 In Resources

Excerpted from my October 2023 newsletter. 


The poem below is another piece of writing that arose from observing the garden out my window. One day, I saw a squirrel shove an acorn into the soft, loamy dirt in my raised garden bed. The next day, the squirrel returned and removed the acorn. My interest was piqued, and I wrote this poem about the dual identities of scientist and poet I carry with me, and the commonality of noticing, questioning, and wondering that the two fields hold. These drive so much of my creative work and orientation to the world.

The scientist and the poet

I watch a squirrel dig up
an acorn from the
vegetable garden, then
carry it away in her mouth.

Both scientist and poet
watch her furred body
coil along the fence line,
see the long tail flick
back and forth for balance,
wonder what the slick
cylindrical seed feels like
under tooth and tongue
and consider how acorns and
squirrels need one another
the way pulley needs rope,
imagine where the squirrel
might go next.

What else gets buried
and pulled back up
in a cloak of earth?

Fascination quickly
dream-cords its way
up to the clouds.

The sun’s magnetic
sway speaks to seeds
under the surface.

The language of
green cell splitting
into green cell
worthy of a thousand
questions, odes, love letters
written on paper pressed
from the very same blade.

Consilience is a wonderful online literary journal that publishes themed issues that “explore the spaces where the sciences and arts meet.” They also offer their authors comments from several reviewers in advance of publication. I’m so grateful to Consilience for including The scientist and the poet in their most recent issue, which focuses on the theme of Structure. The other poems and pieces in this issue are fantastic.

Spotted around the yard: Acorns

As in the poem I wrote a year ago, acorns are on the move again in the mouths of squirrels dashing across fence lines and scrub jays sailing over the yard. I watch them pass as I sit at my desk, writing. Once again I’m filled with questions and wonder. And I hope you find wonder close at hand too.

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