Mama used to tell us a story about a cicada sitting high in a tree. It chirps and drinks in dew, oblivious to the praying mantis behind it. The mantis arches up its front leg to stab the cicada, but it doesn't know an oriole perches behind it. The bird stretches out its neck to snap up the mantis for a midday meal, but its unaware of the boy who's come into the garden with a net. Three creatures""the cicada, the mantis and the oriole""all coveted gains without being aware of the greater and inescapable danger that was coming.
The air was cold to the lungs, the long grass dripping wet, and the herbs on it gave out their spiced astringent scent. In a little while on all sides the Cicada would begin to sing. The grass was me , and the air, the distant invisible mountains were me, the tired oxen were me. I breathed with the slight night-wind in the thorn trees.
In White Summer, Joelle Biele exhibits a Roethke-like affinity with nature and natures creatures. At times a miniaturist, Biele constructs exquisite addresses to a heron, cicada, spider, catalpa tree, mockingbird, snail, cormorant, and others. These pitch-perfect poems are written with a delicate, meticulous attention to craft and music. Like the joy she takes in her subjects, this collection is a joy to read.
While the burning fish is tracing his arc near the cypress, beneath the highest blue of all, and the blind boy flies away in the white stone, and the ivory poem of the green cicada beats and reverberates in the elm, let us give honor to the Lord- the black mark of his good hand- who has arranged for silence in all this noise. Honor to the god of distance and of absence, ff the anchor in the sea-the open sea... He frees us from the world-it's everywhere- he opens roads for us to walk on. With our cup of darkness filled to the brim, with our heart that always knows some hunger, let us give honor to the Lord who created the zero and carved our thought out of the block of faith.
Fire In The Heavens Fire in the heavens, and fire along the hills, and fire made solid in the flinty stone, thick-mass'd or scatter'd pebble, fire that fills the breathless hour that lives in fire alone. This valley, long ago the patient bed of floods that carv'd its antient amplitude, in stillness of the Egyptian crypt outspread, endures to drown in noon-day's tyrant mood. Behind the veil of burning silence bound, vast life's innumerous busy littleness is hush'd in vague-conjectured blur of sound that dulls the brain with slumbrous weight, unless some dazzling puncture let the stridence throng in the cicada's torture-point of song.
Christopher John Brennan
A far cicada rings high and clear over the river's heavy wash. Morning glory, a lone dandelion, cassia, orchids. So far from the nearest sea, I am taken aback by the sight of a purple land crab, like a relict of the ancient days when the Indian subcontinent, adrift on the earth's mantle, moved northward to collide with the Asian landmass, driving these marine rocks, inch by inch, five miles into the skies. The rise of the Himalaya, begun in the Eocene, some fifty million years ago, is still continuing: an earthquake in 1959 caused mountains to fall into the rivers and changed the course of the great Brahmaputra, which comes down out of Tibet through northeastern India to join the Ganges near its delta at the Bay of Bengal.
You can never stay angry too long in the bush though. At least, that's what I think. It's not that it's soothing or restful, because it's not. What it does for me is get inside my body, inside my blood, and take me over. I don't know that I can describe it any better than that. It takes me over and I become part of it and it becomes part of me and I'm not very important, or at least no more important than a tree or a rock or a spider abseiling down a long thread of cobweb. As I wandered around, on that hot afternoon, I didn't notice anything too amazing or beautiful or mindbogglingly spectacular. I can't actually remember noticing anything out of the ordinary: just the grey-green rocks and the olive-green leaves and the reddish soil with its teeming ants. The tattered ribbons of paperbark, the crackly dry cicada shell, the smooth furrow left in the dust by a passing snake. That's all there ever is really, most of the time. No rainforest with tropical butterflies, no palm trees or Californian redwoods, no leopards or iguanas or panda bears. Just the bush.
Uexke¼ll begins by carefully distinguishing the Umgebung, the objective space in which we see a living being moving, from the Umwelt, the environment-world that is constituted by a more or less broad series of elements that he calls 'carriers of significance' (Bedeutungstre¤ger) or of 'marks' (Merkmaltre¤ger), which are the only things that interest the animal. In reality, the Umgebung is our own Umwelt, to which Uexke¼ll does not attribute any particular privilege and which, as such, can also vary according to the point of view from which we observe it. There does not exist a forest as an objectively fixed environment: there exists a forest-forthe-park-ranger, a forest-for-the-hunter, a forest-for-the-botanist, a forest-for-the-wayfarer, a forest-for-the-nature-lover, a forest-forthe-carpenter, and finally a fable forest in which Little Red Riding Hood loses her way. Even a minimal detail-for example, the stem of a wildflower-when considered as a carrier of significance, constitutes a different element each time it is in a different environment, depending on whether, for example, it is observed in the environment of a girl picking flowers for a bouquet to pin to her corset, in that of an ant for whom it is an ideal way to reach its nourishment in the flower's calyx, in that of the larva of a cicada who pierces its medullary canal and uses it as a pump to construct the fluid parts of its elevated cocoon, or finally in that of the cow who simply chews and swallows it as food.