How beautiful the Earth: a found poem

Photo of a blood moon (full moon coloured orange) in the centre of a black sky.
The beautiful blood moon in eclipse, 19 November 2021. Photo by John Rainey-Smith.

How beautiful the earth

I want to say that in 100 years
the moon will rise
and be beautiful

and shine its light across the sea
even if the coastline
isn't where it used to be.

Every raindrop 
on a blade of grass
will still be beautiful.

Flowers will bloom.
Beauty is what
we are fighting for.

Tell stories 
about how beautiful 
the Earth.

Pay attention.
Take that beauty
as a sacred trust.

What’s a found poem?

Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems. A pure found poem consists exclusively of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet.

American Academy of Poets

The poem “How Beautiful the Earth” is based on Rebecca Solnit’s tenth way to stay hopeful in climate crisis: “Don’t neglect beauty.” I found her words so moving that I have held them up to the light of a blood-red moon. It was partially eclipsed last night. Then it emerged into the light, brighter than ever. A quiet symbol of hope.

Rebecca Solnit’s Long Read article in The Guardian, 18 November 2021:
Ten ways to confront the climate crisis without losing hope

Photo of partial eclipse of the moon taken in Eastbourne, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, by John Rainey-Smith on 19 November 2021.

6 thoughts on “How beautiful the Earth: a found poem

  1. How hopeful and beautiful, Rachel. Lovely words to go with John’s photo of the moon.

  2. I love found poems. They speak to the poet’s moment in time. I saw the eclipse, too! It was 4:30 in the morning in Virginia, a big, orange moon.:-)

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Wow, good to think of you watching too.

  3. judibwriting says:

    Yes to found poems. Also my own ancient poems from so many angst ridden earlier years. I heard of another poet (sorry, I cannot summon his name) who cut up his poems line by line and spread the papers all over his house in every room. He then compiled them into new arrangements- another kind of found poem. I thought of this as a way to go through my old poems over the years and see what happens if I take a line from here and one from there and see if I can find a new poem in them. Most of my old ones are not what I consider ‘good’ but they all have a seed in them that may deserve a new garden. Thanks so much for the photo and poem.

  4. This is a beautiful find. Thank you Rachel.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lovely found poem and photo!

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