Nurture–dVerse Poetics

The ants rush toward sweetness. I take away the melon, but first I spill a little melon juice on the counter.
Mary Oliver
Sand Dabs, Eight


A drop of Buddhist grace seeps in my core.
I hesitate then spray to check those ants
but guilt ensues, weighs heavily in my soul,
Yet, should spider dare invade, I squash.

Last week I wept—a neighbor’s trees chopped down.
I wept for feathers scattered in our yard,
for eggs unhatched, abandoned in their nest,
for grazing cows and sheep, doomed to be slain.

And do we know for sure grain feels no pain?
That brainless lobsters know no suffering
when dropped in boiling pots for our delight?
Does life exist to feed on other lives?

But soon enough I, too, shall go away—
my life snuffed out much like a candle’s flame.
And so the cycle’s endless rhythm flows,
as well it must make room for seedling’s growth.

Photo: Teri Herzog

Photo: Teri Herzog

A second offering for Mary’s prompt at dVerse Poetics–to write poetry inspired by a quotation.


21 thoughts on “Nurture–dVerse Poetics

  1. Perfectly Buddhist, Victoria. Observing, felling compassion for all, and recognizing your place in the cycle of life and death without judgement. Beautifully written.


  2. /It’s hard to do the right thing by nature in every circumstance. We can only do our best.


  3. Pamela says:

    Bittersweet poem, Victoria. It reminds me of the documentary I have been watching “Years of Living Dangerously”. We have destroyed this planet, and continue to do so. It is heartbreaking.



  4. Sumana Roy says:

    this is very subtle, delicate, deep and thoughtful….


  5. margaret says:

    I think I was reading your third stanza and I FORGOT I wasn’t reading Mary Oliver and I was thinking – Wow, I just love this poet. So, I confused you with Mary Oliver … that means I liked this poem ALOT!


  6. Wow.. we seem to share something i driving to pick my wife up this afternoon..struggling to let a fly out of the the fly will not suffocate..when i closed in car..

    Taking me eyes off the brush him out the side window…

    i immediately thought of cost and benefit..

    the fly
    and focus
    is texting
    a fly out the window
    it should be i guess…

    and the winner is driving..
    as luck will have it
    FLY escapes.;)

    A beautiful overall it is…:)


  7. I always feel guilty too . . oh the power we yield.


  8. rmp says:

    I too would squash…or being a bit of a squeamish chicken, trap under a cup until life no longer flows. the important part is that you appreciate, understand and accept the cycle. I do like the opening quote.


  9. you have a very defined poetic voice in this piece and so much can be taken not just from what someone says, but how they say it, like “Yet, should spider dare invade, I squash.”. You also have a brilliant pentameter going on here. nice work!


  10. Abhra Pal says:

    Quite a journey you take us on here, Victoria – smiles.


  11. Myrna says:

    I still feel guild and sorrow over a beautiful butterfly I was unable to save. But I feel sadness too even for the ugly animals. I could relate well to the first stanzas of your poem. And the ending – superb. We cannot avoid the cycle.


  12. wolfsrosebud says:

    so loved those last four lines… I too weep since there is so much room in this big old world


  13. Yousei Hime says:

    I’ve ready more than one cycle themed poem to this prompt. This is delicate and introspective. Enjoyed it very much.


  14. jo-hanna says:

    It is a dichotomy. My neighbour kills squirrels but won’t step on a snail. We don’t eat meat, but swat wasps. It is hard to be consistent. Is it food or danger that guides us?


  15. Sherry Marr says:

    I love this poem and its wonderings. As for the lobster – yes, they feel pain – and fear – once my sister was dropping one into a boiling pot and it shot its claws out and held onto the rim of the pot to avoid being immersed. That totally freaked us out. I dont think she has been able to try that again ever since.


  16. ayala says:

    Victoria, this is beautiful. 🙂


  17. Mary says:

    I have always thought about the pain of lobsters as they were thrust into boiling water too. Actually, this is one reason I am not a great fan of eating them…I can almost feel their pain. And I think I would have a hard time being a farmer raising animals to be slain. But so true…all are part of some kind of life cycle. We are too. What lives eventually dies, and more are reborn…..


  18. claudia says:

    i think we should learn to respect all life – however small it may be – it counts and makes a difference… love that she nurtured those ants… we should too


  19. Oh the awareness of all living thing.. it’s hard to live by.. I’m sure though that grain fell no pain.. so you are safe there… and of course the cycle of life aspect is of utmost importance…


  20. Mary says:

    Victoria, perhaps you could change your crediting info on both of your poems for today to “Mary’s prompt at dVerse.” (Not Ginny.) That would be me. Smiles. And, feel free to just delete this comment… Thanks, Mary


  21. brian miller says:

    smiles…i wrote a bit on a similar vein in my poem for tomorrow….the understanding of the giving and taking….feeling the empathy and connectedness for all things…and the cycle we are all in


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