Stewardship is an individual's responsibility to exercise care over the possessions entrusted to him or her. Certain feelings and relationships with the land are not usually talked about in everyday conversation. Some of the most famous American poets found that it was easiest to convey their feelings for nature through writing. Poetry is a good way to express what you may think are inexpressible feelings.

Flower Graphic

The Orchard

We go into it at night
In Wyoming an orchard is the
only city around- so many blossoms going up
into trees like lights
and windfall apples like lives
coming down.

In the pickup, heads on the tailgate,
we lie on last years hay and wait
for the orchard to bloom.
A great horned owl sweeps between
trees as if to crop dust the rising
sap with white for the flowers.
"The first blossom to come," you say,
"I'll give the apple that grows there to you."
Another owl lands
on a bare branch and drops
a plug of mice bones on the roots.
Under him, the tree does not think of
the sap's struggle.
I listen to your heart. Divided by
beats and rests, it says yes, then no, then yes.
Above us the milk way seams the sky and is stirred by a hand too big to see.
We watch the stars

Tonight so many of them fall.

-Gretel Ehrlich

Read the poem "The Orchard."

Then answer these discussion questions...

Wendell Berry is a writer who often deals with farming situations in his books and poetry.
This is a segment from a poem called, "Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer."
(Clue: he is not mad in this section)

"Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer"

Sowing the seed,
my hand is one with the earth.

Wanting the seed to grow,
my mind is one with the light.

Hoeing the crop,
my hand is one with the rain.
having cared for the plants,
my mind is one with the earth.

Eating the fruit,
my body is one with the earth.

Let my marriage be brought to the ground.
Let my love for this woman enrich the earth.
What is its happiness but preparing its place?
What is its monument but to a rich field?

-Wendell Berry

These questions will help you think about the poem.

How does this farmer view the land?
Tomato GraphicCompare and contrast the attitudes of the two poems.
What does the farmer mean by earth?
What is the farmer's relationship with the earth?
What is your favorite line in the poem? Why?

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