Poetry Friday & NPM: Writing Wild, Day 9

Carolyn Merchant‘s 1980 book, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution is, according to Kathryn Aalto, “one of the most important feminist books ever written.” (Writing Wild, p. 102) I am embarrassed to admit I had never heard of it. In her groundbreaking book, Merchant “analyzes environmental history to frame the relationship between the natural world and humanity, particularly gender and the environment.” (Writing Wild, p. 103) She also helps give rise to the idea of ecofeminism, or “a feminist approach to understanding ecology.”

Merchant’s ideas are new to me, so I needed a poetic form that could help me distill them and gain some deeper understanding. I find that acrostics sometimes give me a vocabulary for a topic and get the words flowing, especially if its a topic I don’t know a lot about. This seemed like a good place to start. And because it’s the end of a long week, it also seemed like a good place to stop for now.


Earth, mother to all,
Cradles and nurtures the
Organic cosmos,
Fuels the vital forces of
Ensouled beings.
Magical traditions are
Inextricably linked, a vast symbiotic
Network, millenia in the making.
Its equilibrium has been disrupted, no longer
Sustainable, thanks to
Mechanization and greed.

Draft, © 2021, Catherine Flynn

Photo by Robert Holmgren via Wikipedia

Previous Writing Wild posts:

Day 1: Dorothy Wordsworth
Day 2: Susan Fenimore Cooper
Day 3: Gene Stratton-Porter
Day 4: Mary Austin
Day 5: Vita Sackville-West
Day 6: Nan Shepherd
Day 7: Rachel Carson
Day 8: Mary Oliver

Please be sure to visit Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference for the Poetry Friday Roundup!

30 thoughts on “Poetry Friday & NPM: Writing Wild, Day 9

  1. Fascinating. This is a new idea to me too. But, I can “see” it. It makes sense to me that the feminine in me and in women would protect and defend earth as a sister, mother, friend. I’m loving this project, Catherine. What a wonderful collection you’ve got going. Keep going!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Catherine, what a great idea to use a book to ground your poems each day. I have requested the book from our local library to learn more about it. Your poems make me look forward to reading it. I hope it comes quickly so I can ready your poetry and the book together. I am not family with Holmgren. This caught my attention:

    Fuels the vital forces of
    Ensouled beings.

    Powerful. An acrostic poem worked perfectly for today’s poem. I look forward to following your journey through this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Catherine, I’ve just finished this book… if one can call it that! As you predicted, I came away with a lengthy TBR list. Thank you for the rich vocabulary in your acrostic! xo

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  4. You really have me intrigued with this one, Catherine. An acrostic does work so well, to offer some information, a titillating look at this term, “Ecofeminism”. That ‘no longer sustainable’ roots for attention!

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  5. I have never heard of ecofeminism and love learning new things from your learning. Taken with the lines “millennia in the making”, and “no longer sustainable.”

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  6. I had to smile at your comment that it was a “good place to stop” as well 🙂 We have to work within our limits!
    I hadn’t heard of that book either…Thanks for the introduction! “Ensouled” is a lovely word.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yikes! I have missed 9 days of fabulousness on your blog. This project is one I’ll need to save for closer study. Fascinating focus.


  8. “Magical traditions are
    Inextricably linked, a vast symbiotic
    Network, millenia in the making.”
    This reminds me of what I’m reading in BRAIDING SWEETGRASS about the generations of women who have had the “magical” knowledge, the witchery to know what medicines come from which plants, the symbiotic nature of all ensouled beings. You boiled it down, Catherine, like a healer making a potion.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You’ve given me a lot to chew on with this post, Catherine. I know how well poetry can explain, but I would never have thought to use a poetry form as a basis to help me learn in the first place. I guess that’s why you’re the literacy specialist. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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