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Intersection



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We often consider the natural world to be outside city limits—an area beyond, or protected from, the urban landscape in which most of us live and work. And yet nature is everywhere: in the wind sweeping across the city, the decomposing park bench, dandelions peeking up through pavement cracks, migrating birds overhead.
 
In her poem "Nature Poetry", the American poet Meg Kearney draws into question the assumption that you have to be out in the wilds of the countryside to write about nature. Notice how, in the following excerpt, Kearney explores nature within the urban landscape:
 
[From] Harlem, Manhattan blinked and glowed like
a floor of stalagmite, lit by its own desire
to exist. What was it? Concrete, glass, steel—
meaning limestone, silica, gypsum, sand,
manganese, sodium, sulfur, ore—
anything unnatural here? Here, in the city, we
steel ourselves against the elements—steel,
from the Old High German stak, “to resist”—
and we fight like the animals we are for our
own little plot of privacy amidst all this
concrete (from the Latin, concret-us, past-
participle of con-crescere, “to grow together”).


And in "Homo Suburbiensis", Australian poet Bruce Dawes writes about garden foliage in a suburban landscape:
 
… the air
smells of tomato-vines, and the hoarse rasping tendrils
of pumpkin flourish clumsy whips and their foliage sprawls

Over the compost-box, poising rampant upon
the palings ...
He stands there, lost in a green
confusion, smelling the smoke of somebody's rubbish

Burning, hearing vaguely the clatter of a disk
in a sink that could be his, hearing a dog, a kid,
a far whisper of traffic…

 
Your turn, dear writers. Reflect on where and how you see nature in the urban sphere, and write about it in a piece of prose, or a poem—as Phoebe Lease does here.