Poem of the Week: Who Has Seen the Wind?

By Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind? 
Neither I nor you: 
But when the leaves hang trembling, 
The wind is passing through. 

Who has seen the wind? 
Neither you nor I: 
But when the trees bow down their heads, 
The wind is passing by.

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Folklore & Nature: Birch Bark

I pass forth into light–I find myself
Beneath a weeping birch (most beautiful
Of forest trees, the Lady of the Woods)

from ‘The Picture or The Lover’s Resolution ‘ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The birch tree has firm roots as an important tree in folklore. It’s the first letter of the Celtic ogham alphabet, Beith and in early Celtic belief, the tree symbolized purification and rebirth or renewal. Besoms or brooms made from birch twigs were used to purify homes and gardens and even is the root of the iconic witches broom.

But the tree’s name hints at another use of the birch. The word ‘birch’ is believe to have originated from ‘bhurga’, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘tree whose bark is written upon’. Birch bark writings have been found throughout many cultures, and some are incredibly old. The

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Poem of the Week: Real Presence

By Nan Shepherd

Clear as the endless ecstasy of stars
That mount for ever on an intense air;
Or running pools, of water cold and rare,
In chiselled gorges deep amid the scaurs,
So still, the bright dawn were their best device,
Yet like a thought that has no end they flow;
Or Venus, when her white unearthly glow
Sharpens like awe on skies as green as ice:

To such a clearness love is come at last,
Not disembodied, transubstantiate,
But substance and its essence now are one;
And love informs, yet is the form create.
No false gods now, the images o’ercast,
We are love’s body, or we are undone.

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Poem of the Week: The Oracle

By Arthur Davison Ficke

I lay upon the summer grass.
A gold-haired, sunny child came by,
And looked at me, as loath to pass,
With questions in her lingering eye.

She stopped and wavered, then drew near,
(Ah! the pale gold around her head!)
And o’er my shoulder stopped to peer.
“Why do you read?” she said.

“I read a poet of old time,
Who sang through all his living hours—
Beauty of earth—the streams, the flowers—
And stars, more lovely than his rhyme.

“And now I read him, since men go,
Forgetful of these sweetest things;
Since he and I love brooks that flow,
And dawns, and bees, and flash of wings!”

She stared at me with laughing look,
Then clasped her hands upon my knees:
“How strange to read it in a book!
I could have told you all of these!”