An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

“…Under them the springtime lies.”

1-21-19 kathie fiveash img_2886The loss of Mary Oliver prompted me to think about other poets who share Mary Oliver’s connection to the natural world. Among them is naturalist and Maine Literary Award winner Kathie Fiveash, whose published works include Island Naturalist, Earthbound and Broad Brook. Kathie is able to convey the intimate relationship she has with the earth in a lyrical voice that reflects her knowledge, reverence and gratitude. To hear Kathie reading her poem Blanket while viewing beautiful photographs, go to


Take every leaf on every tree
and put its tired green to bed,
and when the green has gone to sleep
and red and yellow lift their heads,

set them shining in the sky,
wild against the blue expanse.
Loosen them and let them fly,
stir the wind until they dance

in airy swirls. Then lay them down
under the gentle hands of rain.
Turn their colors all to brown,
decompose their withered veins,

press them drenched in sodden layers,
freeze them with your icy sighs,
bless them with your wintery prayers.
Under them the springtime lies.

Kathie Fiveash

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13 responses

  1. Beautiful, thank you so much!

    January 24, 2019 at 8:26 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    A very beautiful poem…to me, about celebrating the beauty of Fall, having a rest, then the Promise of Spring. I had no idea Kathie is a Poet! What a gift.

    January 24, 2019 at 8:34 am

  3. A lovely poem by a poet I hadn’t known.Thanks for sharing this!

    January 24, 2019 at 9:33 am

  4. Deborah Luquer

    Especially welcome today. Thank you, Mary

    January 24, 2019 at 9:45 am

  5. Andrew

    Really nice poem and an appropriate
    refection of the weather we are experiencing!

    January 24, 2019 at 11:12 am

  6. Wow!

    I have felt so bored, annoyed and let down by the long period of poetry which means so little beyond a negative, narrow view from the limited, neurotic ego, and was thrilled when Mary Oliver came on the scene—also translations of Rumi by Coleman Barks, some of David White’s poems and, unfortunately, not so many others. The fashion was, and continues to be, with many voices, picking at one’s scabs. Where is life? Where is meaning? I see it and feel it in the ways that poets like Mary Oliver and Kathie Fiveash do. And thank you, Mary, for the way you extend our appreciation for nature, one of the greatest places our hearts connect.

    January 24, 2019 at 12:29 pm

  7. Jean Knox

    Thank you for posting this beautiful poem by Kathie Fiveash.

    Last week Mary Holland posted information about marcescence, which delighted me since it’s rarely discussed. The poem below was written earlier this winter. See also the November 26th NYT excerpt at bottom.


    The dynamics of letting go
    are in play everywhere,
    easy as crumpling paper,
    or butter sliding off a knife.
    “Abigail and John Adams
    knew the cycle,” Mother said,
    their book of letters by her bed.
    “They accepted distances between them.”
    Holding her leg, I rubbed lotion
    in the hollow of her ankle,
    the imprint of her sock.
    Her skin was dry as paper.

    The dynamics of letting go
    are hard. Some leaves
    cannot do it. Marcescence is
    when beech and oak leaves
    hang above the snow,
    bleached and torn,
    carried like conversations
    from one season to another.
    Or like grief. Demeter went to Hades
    to bring back her daughter,
    and so would I. My father
    couldn’t even send his sheep to slaughter.

    The dynamics of letting go
    are in play everywhere.
    Winter demands persistence,
    dynamics of holding on.
    New leaves will emerge in time,
    push off the old, unfold their wet and pleated fans.
    But letting go is hard.

    Jean Knox
    Center Sandwich, NH

    From NYT, 11/26/18 This Is the Way the Paper Crumples
    The dynamics of crumpling are in play everywhere: in the initial unfolding of an insect’s wing; in the way DNA packs into a cell nucleus, in the challenge of how best to cram a giant solar sail into a small satellite so that it unfurls successfully. Scientists, in turn, devote considerable energy to deciphering, and trying to reduce, this complexity and disorder. Paper is an ideal model.

    January 24, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    • Kathie Fiveash

      Lovely, Jean. And a great quote from the Times too. The science of crumpling. The careful packing into small spaces of what will expand. I love your poem.

      January 24, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    • I love it, Jean. Thank you so much for sharing it with my readers.

      January 24, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    • I like your poem! It pointed out something to me too, in how having to let go, especially when hard, like winter is, involves a new or different holding on too.

      January 24, 2019 at 7:38 pm

  8. jhubermn

    Thanks! Lovely poem!

    January 24, 2019 at 12:55 pm

  9. Kathy Bales

    Did you ever sign up to get these?

    January 24, 2019 at 1:16 pm

  10. Beautiful!

    January 24, 2019 at 9:54 pm

  11. Elizabeth Atkins

    Thank you for all your wonderful posts

    On Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 8:24 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “The loss of Mary Oliver prompted me to think about > other poets who share Mary Oliver’s connection to the natural world. Among > them is naturalist and Maine Literary Award winner Kathie Fiveash, whose > published works include Island Naturalist, Earthbound ” >

    March 10, 2019 at 9:59 am

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