Monthly Archives: September 2020

“The Stars Will Shine”

Photo by Rachel Michaud

The Remedy

by Rachel Michaud

Coming from the capital
we find an herbal remedy:
bee balm, flowering milkweed.
The trees refuse to march
and the sun and the rain rule.
Instead of barbed wire,
No walls
but these fallen down stones
marking the edge of the field.
Not a siren
just the crow’s call.
That rat-a-tat-tat
is a semi-automatic

No lies,
just doves cooing
that we will sleep in soft beds tonight.
The stars will shine
and the red-winged blackbirds
keep watch around the pond.

Let seeds be 
the only refugees,
and the travelers,
bear and bobcat,
expanding their range.
Let our wealth be today 
and tomorrow these hay bales 
to stack in the barn.
We are soldiers on leave.
May berries,
not blood,
stain our hands.

I’ve been thinking about this poem as I pick end-of-summer blackberries, communing with the natural world in order to escape, even for just a few minutes, the overhang of dark clouds shadowing so much of our world right now. A friend recently confessed that she had been using social media to connect during the past few months, yet when she found herself out in the garden, weeding, harvesting, and placing her hands in the rich soil again, she realized that she felt even more connected with herself than when she interacted with people on a screen. Rachel Michaud’s poem points to this essential truth as well, inviting us to find “our wealth” in seeds, “bear and bobcat,/expanding their range.” She offers us a way of expanding our own range simply by stepping outdoors and reminds us of this “herbal remedy” to the poisonous negativity we find so often in the news these days, some of which we must absorb to stay informed. Yet nature’s promises, even when taken in small doses, feel more life-giving and reliable: “No lies,” as she writes, “just doves cooing/that we will sleep in soft beds tonight.”

Invitation for Writing & Reflection: How do you find your “wealth” and a sense of healing in the natural world, even if you live in the city? What allows you to step out from under the overhang of negative news and breathe freely for a while?