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Explore our poetry paths and find passages of poems etched onto boulders at the Natural History Museum of Utah and The City Library.

The museum path is located along the Bonneville Shoreline trail that runs adjacent to the Museum.

The Library path is located in The Plot on the northeast side of the Library. The path opened in the spring of 2019.


Passages along the Library Path include excerpts from the following poems:

To make a prairie
By Emily Dickinson

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

Dwelling: an ecopoem
by Scott Edward Anderson

When you read the word nature, what do you see?

Scott Edward Anderson, from Dwelling: an ecopoem. Copyright © 2018 by Scott Edward Anderson. Reprinted with the permission of Shanti Arts Publishing, Brunswick, Maine, www.shantiarts.co.


A Great Wagon
by Rumi


When I see your face, the stones start spinning!
You appear; all studying wanders.
I lose my place.

Water turns pearly.
Fire dies down and doesn’t destroy.

In your presence I don’t want what I thought
I wanted, those three little hanging lamps.

Inside your face the ancient manuscripts
Seem like rusty mirrors.

You breathe; new shapes appear,
and the music of a desire as widespread
as Spring begins to move
like a great wagon.
Drive slowly.
Some of us walking alongside
are lame!

~

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

~

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

~

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.

Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let’s buy it.

~

Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?

~

They try to say what you are, spiritual or sexual?
They wonder about Solomon and all his wives.

In the body of the world, they say, there is a soul
and you are that.

But we have ways within each other
that will never be said by anyone.

~

Come to the orchard in Spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts
in the pomegranate flowers.

If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter.

A Kind of Meadow
BY CARL PHILLIPS

—shored
by trees at its far ending,
as is the way in moral tales:

whether trees as trees actually,   
for their shadow and what   
inside of it

hides, threatens, calls to;
or as ever-wavering conscience,   
cloaked now, and called Chorus;

or, between these, whatever
falls upon the rippling and measurable,   
but none to measure it, thin

fabric of this stands for.
A kind of meadow, and then   
trees—many, assembled, a wood

therefore. Through the wood   
the worn
path, emblematic of Much

Trespass: Halt. Who goes there? 
A kind of meadow, where it ends   
begin trees, from whose twinning

of late light and the already underway   
darkness you were expecting perhaps   
the stag to step forward, to make

of its twelve-pointed antlers
the branching foreground to a backdrop   
all branches;

or you wanted the usual
bird to break cover at that angle   
at which wings catch entirely

what light’s left,
so that for once the bird isn’t miracle   
at all, but the simplicity of patience

and a good hand assembling: first   
the thin bones, now in careful   
rows the feathers, like fretwork,

now the brush, for the laying-on   
of sheen.... As is always the way,
you tell yourself, in

poems—Yes, always,   
until you have gone there,   
and gone there, “into the

field,” vowing Only until   
there’s nothing more
I want—thinking it, wrongly,

a thing attainable, any real end
to wanting, and that it is close, and that   
it is likely, how will you not

this time catch hold of it: flashing,   
flesh at once

lit and lightless, a way
out, the one dappled way, back—

Carl Phillips, “A Kind of Meadow” from Pastoral. Copyright © 2000 by Carl Phillips. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.


Missing More Than a Word
BY TANAYA WINDER

Someone once asked me, what are the words I do not yet have — 

....    

....

....    

verbs that will story our bodies into something more
than missing, more than squaw or lost, beyond statistics:

1 in 3 Native women will be raped in her lifetime.

Daily ritual: my hands search and sift through layers
of tiny earthquakes, shifted verdicts not guilty not enough
evidence not prosecutable not our jurisdiction I dig.

Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted compared to all other races.

I dig. We are vanishing lines in history books, treaties;
laws do not protect us. I dig until mud and earth find home
underneath my fingernails. I’ll plant something new
in the absence burn vanish underreport

Invisible, our ghosts starve, while the rest of the world keeps on eating.

A recent government study found that there were 14 federal human trafficking investigations in Indian Country between 2013 and 2016. During that same period the FBI; nvestigated 6,100 elsewhere.

Let us poem a place where you cannot erase us into white space.

....    

....

....    

Let us dig to remind ourselves our roots are ancestral
and there is nothing deeper
than these sacred, dirt-covered hands.

Source: Poetry (June 2018)

From a letter from Rainer Maria Rilke to Witold von Huleivicz
[postmarked Sierrc, November 13, 1925]

. . .Nature, the things of our intercourse and use,
are provisional and perishable;
but they are, as long as we are here,
our property and our friendship,
co-knowers of our distress and gladness,
as they have already been the familiars of our forbears.

So it is important not only not to run down
and degrade all that is here,
but just because of its provisionalness,
which it shares with us, these phenomena
and things should be understood and transformed
by us in a most fervent sense.

Transformed? Yes, for it is our task to imprint
this provisional, perishable earth so deeply,
so patiently and passionately in ourselves
that its reality shall arise in us again "invisibly."
We are the bees of the invisible.
Nous butinons éperdument le miel du visible pour
l'accumuler dans la grande ruche d'or de l'invisible. . .



Field Work is an initiative that explores the ways we know our world through poetry and science. It is presented in partnership with Poets House, a national literary center in New York City, along with museum and library collaborations in Milwaukee, WI, and Salt Lake City, UT. Funded by The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).