Earth Month and National Poetry Month 2023: Two poems for the planet

April is both Earth Month and National Poetry Month and is a busy time for many of us activists and creatives. The number of opportunities for engagement can become overwhelming, so I hope that you’re responding in ways that are supporting your personal capacity for resilience, curiosity, and creativity. Besides strengthening our relationships and connection to our communities, we may also need to disengage and rest.

As a climate activist and a poetry enthusiast, as well as someone working at the intersection of both, I’ve been especially busy these days. I’ve also needed to take time for solitary meditation, reflection and reading.

With this Earth Month 2023 blog post, I’m keeping it simple by featuring two poems, one written by me and one written by a collective of poetry enthusiasts including me.

Poem 1: “#NoFitnessOnASickPlanet” by Anna Nieminen

This autobiographical poem tells a story about transitioning toward offering climate-aware fitness/movement activations and becoming involved in climate activism. The four graphics illustrating the four verses are like snapshots along my journey. Thank you to Devour: Art & Lit Canada for publishing my poem earlier this year. For accessibility, I’m including the text of the full poem after the four graphics.

“#NoFitnessOnASickPlanet” by Anna Nieminen Poem Verse 1/4
“#NoFitnessOnASickPlanet” by Anna Nieminen Poem Verse 2/4
“#NoFitnessOnASickPlanet” by Anna Nieminen Poem Verse 3/4
“#NoFitnessOnASickPlanet” by Anna Nieminen Poem Verse 4/4


Like so many fitpros

I did a pandemic pivot,

offered branded virtual classes

for domestic goddesses,

suggested isolation was like service

to family and community,

cringed later when I heard

newscasts about the covert covid abuse,

while women’s organizations taught the

violence at home signal for help.

Tried offering a series about personal alchemy,

a routine about owning our thrones,

but when our mentor sat on hers for a photo,

it was a mirror to my own white privilege;

over-worked front-line workers

don’t have energy for fitness,

can hardly take the weight off their feet.

Then the heat dome that killed over 600 people

and baked billions of sea creatures in their home,

the fire that swallowed a village

consumed in 20 minutes,

The wild winds, the flooding,

a stirring in my gut,

my heart ached,

my breaths were shallow,

I couldn’t stomach marketing those classes,

Eco-anxious indigestion              moved me.

Now I strengthen my

climate justice core values with a twist,

full-body reach overhead

to stretch my eco-consciousness,

symbolize holding the Earth in my hands,

make intentions for climate action

and breathe, breathe.

Poem “#NoFitnessOnASickPlanet” by Anna Nieminen
©Anna Nieminen, 2023

Poem 2: “Clarion Call for a Warming World” collective poem by members of the Scarborough Poetry Club, Ontario, Canada

Poet Jeevan Bhagwat and I invited Scarborough Poetry Club members to reply to a call for submissions email with one original line of poetry in English that responds to one of the following prompts:

  • Your environmental identity: How did you interact with nature as a child? How do you remain curious about nature as an adult?
  • Dimensions of the ecological crisis, such as habitat loss, species loss, pollution, etc.
  • The healing properties of the natural world

The poem emerged from the individual lines being brought together by Jeevan and me to create a narrative from the responses to themes that we suggested as prompts. This poem is currently featured on the About page on my website where you can read more about the process and the poem. For accessibility, I’m including the text of the full poem after the graphic.

“Clarion Call for a Warming World” collective poem by members of the Scarborough Poetry Club

Clarion Call for a Warming World

In the 1940s, we were taught in School: “Man will kill Nature; and Nature will kill Man, someday”.

As a child, I was happiest with the weather mild.

Now, dancing flamenco over our whopping great messes, the Earth stomps and swirls,

while the ocean appeals its darkness to the moon; She sings beneath her grief.

I listen to bees collecting precious nectar in a field of dandelions, now a construction site,

and feel like a spider struggling in its own web, being cautioned by the nuthatch’s nagging call.

Can this insignificant song-nut grow now into a tree and spawn seedlings in the parched soil?

Nature is my portal to adventure and my philosophical universe,

erasing anxiety, sustaining serenity, nurturing joy and generating creativity.

Everything is connected in so many ways; I am surrounded by nature’s embrace.

Trees, alive in peaceful proximity to one another…if only people could do the same,

I embody my climate intentions—act because I love.

“Clarion Call for a Warming World” collective poem by members of The Scarborough Poetry Club
©The Scarborough Poetry Club, 2023

Addressing the climate crisis takes both individual actions and collective actions, which is why we wanted to cultivate some thinking and responding creatively as a collective of writers. Of course, beyond creative communication about the ecological and climate crises, there are the concrete actions that we all need to be taking in the personal, public and political spheres to effect positive change in our warming world.

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