Friday, June 18, 2010

Poetry Friday: "Natural" Disasters

We're off to Colorado on our 50 State Tour of poets laureate. But even in the mountains, I'm still ranting about the B.P. Oil Disaster. (See yesterday's post for more ranting.)


When will they stop calling it a spill? This is an oil spill...




This is NASA's satellite image of the oil disaster...


 More NASA images of the oil's spread as seen from space are here.

Colorado's poet laureate position was established in 1919. According to the Library of Congress, "The poet is appointed by the governor from a list of candidates recommended by the Colorado Center for the Book, the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities, and the Colorado Arts Council."

What does this have to do with the B.P. Disaster? Read current Colorado Poet Laureate Mary Crow's poem, "Fault Finding."


Fault Finding

by Mary Crow

Even now the ground is slowly shifting
beneath your feet. Even now
zones of weakness are building
behind your back, ready to crack
into fractures. Even now pressures
may exceed the power of rocks
to resist. Think of it:
thousands of faults lace this region.
You live inside a ring of fire
where walls can loom up overnight.
Forces in this landscape
are trying to rearrange your world.
You stand here feeling
you can control nothing,

Read the rest of the poem here.

What does the natural disaster Crow describes have to do with B.P.? It's a reminder that Earth is a delicate, unpredictable place. When something -- natural or industrial -- upsets the balance, we do feel we "can control nothing."


One way I like using poetry with older kids -- as a jumping off point for focused discussion. "Fault Finding" or Bill Cowee's poem (posted yesterday) make good jumping off points for a discussion about natural and industrial disasters --  how they affect the Earth and therefore the individual people who live here.

Stop by Stacey and Ruth of Two Writing Teachers for more Poetry Friday entries. Thanks for hosting, ladies.

12 comments:

Mary Lee said...

Check this out and pass it on:

http://ripplesketches.blogspot.com/

all things poetry said...

Besides the trees and the soils, I also feel sad about all of the animals and creatures under the ocean that have died because of this "spill."

Our earth is indeed a sensitive organism. Because earth is so large, when people try to profit from the earth by taking short cuts, they don't realize they are cutting off their own hand.

Good post!

Laura Evans

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Mary Lee. The sketch cards are beautiful. I love that weeping mermaid. A $10 donation? What a great idea. Artists rock!

jama said...

Great post. The fragility of life and the planet are things too often taken for granted or else totally ignored by some. How can we get people to understand we're all in this together?

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Jama and Laura.

The work we all do as poets -- and sharing poetry through teaching -- reminds people to pay attention to the world around us (rather than take it for granted).

Ruth said...

Yes, lots of similarities between the "spill" and an earthquake.

Jeannine Atkins said...

Thank you for the poem, and thoughts on how poems can also be used toward discussion. There's some hope there.

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Jeannine. Talking to kids about what's going on is really important, so they don't recreate disasters like these.

Marinela Reka said...

Great post, I liked your page and your creative writing :)
Short Poems

Author Amok said...

Thanks for visiting, Marinela. Glad you stopped by.

laurasalas said...

Thanks, Laura--I don't know Mary Crow's work and really enjoyed this. Especially, "You live inside a ring of fire." So direct...I feel it.

Author Amok said...

Hi, Laura. It's an amazingly rich poem -- a reminder to pay attention to the Earth, and wonder at it.