Poetry Friday: “Landscape” by Eve Merriam


My friend Heidi Mordhorst is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today. Heidi is a passionate, brilliant, funny, caring person. She brings these qualities and more to everything she does. Poetry Friday Roundups don’t usually have a theme other than poetry, but from time to time, the host will suggest an optional, unifying theme. Several weeks ago, Heidi announced that she wanted to highlight and support the worldwide School Strike for Climate that took place today. I wanted to write a poem worthy of this important event. As I looked through my notebooks for an idea, I discovered I already had. (Read more about this poem here.)

In her post today, Heidi is sharing Alice Schertle’s “Secretary Bird,” from Mary Ann Hoberman’s gorgeous anthology, The Tree That Time BuiltA Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination. This is a book I return to often. Here is another poem from the collection that feels appropriate for today.

by Eve Merriam

What will you find at the edge of the world?
A footprint,
a feather,
desert sand swirled?
A tree of ice,
a rain of stars,
or a junkyard of cars?

What will there be at the rim of the earth?
A mollusk,
a mammal,
a new creature’s birth?
Eternal sunrise,
immortal sleep,
or cars piled up in a rusty heap?

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDebKelseyMelanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

12 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Landscape” by Eve Merriam

  1. Oh, Catherine, your poem is filled with words that frighten me. And then I went back and reread your original post to discover that it’s a golden shovel poem using Elizabeth Warren’s words. I watched the video too, not sure that I did that in 2017. It’s chilling and sobering. I’m clinging to the hope that we can heed your final words: “The earth’s future depends on us facing the truth.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Catherine, I completely agree with the brilliance, fun and care Heidi brings to the poetry table. I love how she inspires us to write more and write better. This poem that you wrote is a poem I wish I had written. My week got away from me (book fair and big community night at school) and I just couldn’t put the time into creating the way that you have in this. I love the repetition of, “they say” because “they” have said a lot. It’s time to respond.


  3. I came of age in the ’70’s, marching and working for Mother Earth. It’s crazy to me that we seem back where we started – that climate change denial can actually be national policy. When will we ever learn?


  4. Amazing golden shovel and I love the Eve Merriam poem. I’m worried we are too late. Especially here in the south where oil barons live and rule. Yikes!


  5. Eve Merriam, sure, but Catherine, this Golden Shovel is the business! It brings together so many of the voices that must align to make a change happen. Wonderful!

    And thanks for all the compliments; right back atcha!


  6. Your poem is just right, a good companion to Schertle and Merriam. The saddest thing to me is that those two writers wrote so long ago. We need to get smart and act now. Thanks, Catherine!


  7. […] I discovered that poet and writer Eve Merriam (1916-1992) who was the daughter of Russian immigrants, imagined the edge of the earth in her poem Landscape. Below is an excerpt. Catherine Flynn posted this poem on her blog, Reading to the Core, on March 15, 2019 and you can read the entire poem here. […]


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