Winter Scripta Desnuda

The naked bark of winter writes a simple poetry. Graphis scripta is a common lichen on the smooth bark of living trees such as June-berry (Amelanchier arborea). Though native to our home-woods of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, June-berry is much more common in New Hampshire, the birthplace of The Naturalist School. Wherever we find our wild friend June-berry, Graphis scripta gives us the first lines of a poem.

Graphis scripta on Amelanchier arborea in Fremont County, Iowa. Photos by Robert Smith.

All-in Poesia Desnuda

How old was the youthful Juan Ramón Jiménez when the naked muse first appeared? He fell in love again with poesia desnuda after she returned to him decades later, the poetic body having been once again laid bare. This very same muse has seduced other poets to throw off well-worn lyric form and to follow the naked path. I for one was recently asked again, why poetry? She confessed that she is not much for writing so maybe she could just listen. When I explained that we merely seek silently long and wildly walking with space for a pink and simple tongue she asked me where to meet and what to wear. Poetry tends to overdress for the occasion and our language for nature as well. 

Becoming a Naturalist 64, prose-poem by Jack Phillips