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Posted on Apr 24, 2012

A Poet Actually Living in the Nature Poem | Mary Harwell Sayler Reflects on Her Upcoming Book

A Poet Actually Living in the Nature Poem | Mary Harwell Sayler Reflects on Her Upcoming Book

A Poet Actually Living in the Nature Poem

Author Mary Harwell Sayler Reflects on Her Upcoming Book


As long as I can remember, I’ve been living in poetry – from hymn lyrics to a Child’s Garden of Verse to the anthologies, poetry how-to’s, and books of poems that now fill many bookshelves at home with the works of ancient poets, international poets, nature poets, and most of the contemporary Pulitzer-prized poets too. I like to read! I like to connect with poets and poetry. And I like to experiment with almost every form.

Often poems come to me with a musical phrase or an unexpected thought or sight, and I write down those opening words, expecting more to follow but having no idea what that will be. This spontaneous method does not lend itself well to writing a book of poems intentionally, but to exploring interests, playing with words, and noticing nature – as in, really noticing it.

For most of my life, I’ve lived in small towns or rural areas, but the strongest poetry-producing environment came when we moved to our present 100+-year-old home in “the boonies” of North Florida, reached by an unpaved road where the only honking traffic comes from sandhill cranes. Surrounded by a small thicket of woods, a small pasture, and a small lake, we see almost every bird imaginable – songbirds, water birds, and birds of prey – each of whom is a frequent flyer into my poems.

The morning habit of taking our coffee onto the deck also encouraged me to notice sights and sounds and poetic percussions that come when I’m most receptive, so nature poems began to make impromptu visits more and more frequently. I did not realize, though, just how often or how long I had been living in the nature poem until I discovered the nature poetry and environmentally themed nonfiction books published by Hiraeth Press. I really liked what I saw! And so I searched my published and unpublished pieces to see if I had enough nature poems for a book.

I did – not only “bird poems” but poems including human nature and natural bodies ranging in size from our own cells to the cellular bodies of stars aloft in the universe. So, even though Living in the Nature Poem began with my personal interest in poetry and anything living, I like to think the poems encourage us to connect with one other, the earth, and our own natural selves as a vital part of all creation and beyond.




A Brief Synopsis of Synapses

{An excerpt from Living in Nature Poem}


One hundred-billion neurons


to one another

without numbers.

Lively leaps of faith

repair line breaks

and make connections

we can only dream of:

to think, to feel,

to move, to heal.

Success progresses from

this strong neuronal song,

to live, to love, to be,


to belong.


Living in Nature Poem by Mary Harwell Sayler will be released June 15th [Hiraeth Pres].