Poems for the Planet

Tim Giraudier – Beautiful Oregon


Bob Bumstead

The youthful creek
collects her gleams
a tap at a time.
They rush from lip to pool
playing an ouzel song
for dancing light

Downstream an aging river flows
restrained by the weight of many gathered creeks.
Beneath its slow surface
thick-bodied larva hang on algaed stones
while slow eddies shuffle leaves.

here, flat on the valley floor
the swirl of broad-backed trout
flex the mirrored sunset waltz.

Animal Energy

Beverley Jean Hollander

falling in love
with the trees
with the water
with the rocks

flowing in the energy
the soft animal energy
that wakes me up
reminds me to celebrate
this sacred place

Coyote at Green Island – Kit Larsen

Jillian Cooper – Getty Images

Winter Water Ouzel

Bob Bumstead

Consider this ouzel
mining Horse Creek
for insects
that cling to the cobble.
As he dips his head into the flow
a tiny wavelet of water
rides over his head
breaking just behind his neck.

I sit five feet from him
on a sunny rock
on this January day
and watch his slate form
dip-dance in the near freezing
then pause on a mossy rock,
content in
the sun
glinting off his
yellow eye
as he sings fragments
of his spring


Howard Horowitz

          searching for a place to live
          drove upriver, drawn by beauty all around.
We crossed Belknap Covered Bridge
and rented a cabin in Rainbow.
Knotty Pines was cheap
smelled faintly of gas and sewage
but was next to whitewater,
and had remarkable neighbors
along the river.

Ellie, spiritually-minded senior knew both tragedy
          and joy, and chanted to the river’s song.
Skip and Nancy, in their geodesic dome
          when not in Hollywood or canning with honey.
Barry, ever focused, traveled the world
          to fill his curiosity through wonderful books,
          but always returned to Finn Rock.
Frances, retired after teaching school for years
          and opened Blue River Library in her shed.
Jim, founded the Mckenzie Guardians to protect
          Castle Rock and French Pete, and is still
          saving land today.
The brothers who ran Phil’s Phine Foods
          with a smile – “Yes we have it!” Just downstream,
          Holiday Farm hosted fishermen and guests.
Claudia, wiry but tender, ferocious protector
          of Eagle Rock, where we soon moved.
Martha, whose last name is on the covered bridge,
          outlived Clarence and was a treasure
          of local knowledge generously shared.

Knotty Pines is long gone, as are most of these
neighbors. Few of the homes they lived in
survived the 2020 fire that sparked
from a cable near Holiday Farm and roared
thirty miles downstream.

Trees are planted, filberts pruned,
trout restocked to river’s flow.
Gardens grow in fertile silt,
and Jim’s home is almost rebuilt:
renewal in the air and on the ground.
will drive upriver and be drawn
by beauty all around.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Helfrich

Barry Lopez #3 – 1986, gelatin silver print, © Robert Miller