Stunning in their endurance,
despite chain saws and sewage spills,
mounds of old tires, garbage, plastic bottles that blanket creek banks;
despite the invasive plants:
English Ivy, Privet and Chinaberry trees carried here
for decoration, for erosion control, literally smothering the natives;
The million year plants have persevered, even resurrected in the living soil of a nearly extinct forest.
Wary coyotes still patrol their territory.
Frogs and herons find the remaining clear running streams, the almost hidden springs.
Watchful resident birds and migrating warblers still nest and rest from their long
despite human incursion, degradation and care-lessness.
I have re-learned something about resilience
from this moody summer, drowning and baking the land,
from this overlooked place:
How living things want to live.
How a centuries-old tree, a lucky accident of survival, can generate and sustain new growth.
How limbs may flexibly bend and not break,
but even when limbs break, life can refashion itself.
Gaping holes can shelter magnificent mushrooms.
Creek beds can fill up, change course in a single afternoon,
whether or not we can bridge over them.
From Hardihood: A Series of Prose Poems
She is also a published poet with chapbooks: Prickly Pear (Farm House Press, 2009) and South/West (Shakespeare's Sisters Press, 2013). She is the co-editor, with Leah Hart-Landsberg, of Jewish Voices in Unitarian Universalism (Skinner House, 2014). She is also an author and editor of Faith of UU Jews, part of the welcoming pamphlet library of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
In 2014, she was selected to be a poet in residence as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Wilderness Act. She joined visual artists, photographers, sculptors, and musicians in a program where participants spent time in urban wild spaces in preparation for producing creative works. She was assigned to three preserves in Southwest Atlanta.
Latest posts by Rev. Marti Keller (see all)
- Observations at Southwest Atlanta Nature Preserves - September 1, 2017
- Turn, Turn, Turn - September 1, 2012