Saturday, 27 May 2023



by Melanie Choukas-Bradley

It’s hot here in the mountains, hot all over the hemisphere
London train tracks buckling, Sierra sequoias crackling
And where it’s not burning it’s drowning

I walk up the road and take the Short Circuit path
Into the woods
The road is lined with recycling bins

Plastics, glass, papers and cardboard, all methodically sorted
Such conscientious recyclers, fighting to rescue the planet
I take the Short Circuit to the Pasture Path

And down to the Diagonal
I step off the Diagonal to do what most humans do indoors
Into a world of spruce and fir and moss-draped earth

Into a world of unconscious recycling
Birch logs softening into deep decay
Moose scats in piles the size of eagles’ nests drying in the sun

Everything sinking down or rising up, rot and regeneration
Circular resilience
A world apart from rectangular bins

* * * * *

Melanie Choukas-Bradley is a naturalist and award-winning author of seven nature books, including City of Trees, A Year in Rock Creek Park, Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island and The Joy of Forest Bathing. She began writing poetry during the pandemic and had the good fortune to discover Writing in a Woman’s Voice. The site has featured several of her poems, including “How to Silence a Woman,” and “If I have loved you,” both of which won Moon Prizes. Melanie's poetry has also appeared in The New Verse News. She is working on a nature memoir about the Potomac Gorge.   


  1. I love this poem! The poet draws me right in to the Short Circuit and the Pasture Path and the Diagonal, and I want to be there, wherever it is! And I feel the gentle power of the recycling birch logs and moose scat and wet forest floor. All in just a few chosen words. Wonderful! all

    1. Thank you! I’m glad the poem resonated with you! The place is Randolph, NH in the White Mountains. The Pasture Path and the Diagonal are well over 100 years old. Melanie