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Editor's Note

James R. Adair

On April 22, 1970, a group inspired by environmental activist Denis Hayes observed the first Earth Day. Partially in response to the Santa Barbara oil spill of the previous year, Earth Day proponents called people and governments to recognize the negative impact that humans were having on the earth and take steps to reverse the damage. What began as a celebration of Planet Earth on thousands of college and university campuses, in public schools, and in communities around the U.S. has now spread to 192 countries.

In recognition of Earth Day’s fiftieth anniversary, Voices de la Luna is devoting this entire issue to art, prose, and poems that focus on the environment. Guest editors Jim LaVilla-Havelin and Mobi Warren, cofounders of Stone in the Stream/Roca en el Río—a group of writers and artists committed to the environment—have collected a truly outstanding cast of contributors, including youth poets, artists, educators, and current Young People’s Poet Laureate (as designated by The Poetry Foundation) Naomi Shihab Nye.

This issue is a celebration of Mother Earth—her beauty, wonder, and charms—but it’s also a challenge to us who inhabit this fragile blue planet never to take its continued existence for granted. Climate change, species extinction rates not seen for tens of millions of years, attacks on rain forests and their protectors, fires raging in Australia, and the exploitation of natural resources for the benefit of corporations and the wealthy call us all to commit ourselves to maintaining the viability of the world that supports us. Remember, there is no Plan(et) B.

 


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Themes for future issues
May 2020: Food and the Arts
August 2020: The Nineteenth Amendment

Current Voices

 

Maybe It's the Sound

Kumiko Muro

Francis W. Parker School, Chicago, IL

Maybe it’s the sound, Maybe it’s the feeling. I tend to draw while it is raining, I feel connected, Pure. The sound, The splashes of water rolling down my window, As my pencil slides along a piece of paper. The trees swaying side to side, Same as my hand. The feeling, Connected, as if many ideas are simply Rolling into my head, Parallel to the drops on my windows. The lightning, lighting up my room. I sit there, waiting for something. I think of the many things I enjoy, And as a roll of thunder sends shivers down my spine, I feel as if I have been swept up by the storm and just feel… Free. Tensho, one of my favorite Japanese words, And I now know why. It means rolling hand.

 

Lungs of the Earth

Lucia LaVilla-Havelin

 

Ask the Nuthatch

David Rogers

Ask the nuthatch what its name is. Likely it will fly away. We give Names to things; rough grunts, violent gestures quick liquid language sharp marks on clay ink’d presses rifles, nets and trophies dry words out of the scholar jars and scalpels twisted helixes unwound into string. A flashlight circle moves over wet leaves, catches the globe-eye of something furtive, secret. Into the kill jar it goes because we don’t trust that it knows itself. Go walk in woods without name. Can you name the trees? Can you name the birds? If not, then your life is closer to the silence they keep for themselves. Let the Names go and breathe the silent song again. It is the mind before the first tool.

 

Aveces quiero ser árbol

Octavio Quintanilla

 

Drawing

Sally Ridgway

She walks home from school down the long road, turns left into the gravel driveway, apple orchard shaggy, pasture swelling on the right. At the top of the hill, just beyond the orchard, is the gray house. There, she traces a tulip’s striations lilting one way, then another till petal tips darken and shrivel, open their fist, fanning in the sun— to an apple with a leaf that blocks the sun. Where did the apple come from—slipping with her into the tulip, with her sad eye to the opening? Did it fall like her pencil, before anyone knew? All these paths: tulip, apple, earth-colored house. What does the earth want? To be something found. The apple seeks the girl walking to the house.

 

Paisano Portrait

Margie Crisp

 

Six Brown Pelicans

Toni Heringer Falls

Six brown pelicans work the water just beyond the pier devastating a school of bait fish forced to light by predators below. Great wings beat the stout wind parents teaching young. Only these birds can rise thirty to sixty feet, scan tumult below—plummet like stones, splashing the water wings cocked. They bob on surface, strain water from pouches distended with catch—dreadful coffins latched, lined with ivory satin—soft, smooth.

 


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