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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Poetry Month: “One Log Per Visit, Never The Same Log Twice”

Air Date: Week of

Rolling over a log in the backyard can be a wonderful way to connect with nature from the safety of your own home. (Photo: Sara, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

April is National Poetry Month, and poet Susan Edwards Richmond, a preschool teacher at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, shares a poem about her young students’ wonder at the colorful creepy crawlies they find underneath a backyard log.


CURWOOD: April is national poetry month, and for some inspiration during these times when we need to stay close to home, we turn now to outdoor educator and poet, Susan Edwards Richmond. She teaches at a nature-based pre-school west of Boston, and .
here is she is with her poem, “One Log Per Visit, Never the Same Log Twice.”

RICHMOND: So when I met with my preschool classes at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, we often talk about guidelines for respectfully entering places where animals live. And there's this one nature play area where there's a lot of big logs arranged in a campfire circle. And in a previous class, we had talked about what might live under these logs that there were habitats there. So the kids were very excited to start rolling log after log to see what might live underneath. So we sat down and we talked and we came up with some rules for ways to minimize our disturbance of the animals in their homes.


"One log per visit, never the same log twice."

In the dark and damp, deep places beneath
the surface of our play, lurks a lesson
in gratification deferred. Shadow
creatures blue as caves and midnight, or red
as blood worms, mud worms meander, spotted
with toxicity. Some days only ants,
a spider hiding a sac. Other days
millipedes curl or centipedes scurry
or ubiquitous sow bugs crawl along
bark and roots and offered arms. But the prize
awe is the vertebrate who at first glance
appears as wet and spineless as a slug,
but on second, unwinds in graceful curves,
spreads tiny frog feet and paddles the earth.

Susan Edwards Richmond teaches at an environmental preschool program at Drumlin Farm, a Massachusetts Audubon wildlife sanctuary in Eastern Massachusetts. (Photo: Courtesy of Susan Edwards Richmond)

CURWOOD: Susan Edwards Richmond reading her poem, “One Log Per Visit, Never the Same Log Twice.” Susan is also the author of the children’s book, Bird Count.



Read more about Susan’s work at her website

Listen to a previous Living on Earth story with Susan Edwards Richmond

Susan's poem will be published by Hawk & Whippoorwill Press in the chapbook "Songs for Salamanders"


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