Name of the Book: Mother Earth trumps man
Genre: English Poetry
Poet: Charles Portolano
First Edition: 2017
Number of pages: 68
Publication: The Avocet Publishing Press, Fountain Hills, Arizona, USA
Reviewed by: Thriveni C Mysore.
(Thriveni C Mysore is a science teacher from Karnataka, India. She loves Philosophy and Nature Poetry.)
Mother Earth trumps man is a collection of 66 poems by an established Nature Poet from Arizona, Charles Portolano.
Without laboured splendour or language, the poet successfully places emphasis on ecology and conveys a strong message of responsibility towards Nature, instilling and provoking thought in the reader.
The poet’s great regard for Nature is reflected in each poem. The poems themselves show the gentle urgency of the poet to an active participation and ecological sensitivity.
Set in the framework of a geographical space, the imagery of mountains, valley, forest paths move along the collection of poems like a divine stream.
Incorporating senses into the poetic elements and also the subtle sensibilities, the poet brings the dead tree standing, migratory bird and nest building in the poem, ‘Starting Over’, where the reader stops to re-read the poem again for its beauty and its message of loving life even after being aware of the futility therein. (Page 7)
The poem, ‘waiting for the rains’ tugs at the heart strings of the reader for, the poet says, that the burden of being a wildebeest is to be food for the many to feast on. When the wildebeest is been pounced on by the predator, the poet says about the herd as;
without a turn
of the head
of those of the herd
which moves on
without a thought
of their dead brethren.
The poet further says;
always there to feed
the waiting carnivores
but now the rains
The poem carries an important message of the impact of climate on the grasslands, that is making the numbers of wildebeest dwindle, disturbing the natural order of life of the grasslands. (Page 21)
In the poem, ‘Rainforest of the Sea’, the poet relates about the coral reefs of southern Florida;
30 years later, we revisit
these warm waters
only to witness
a visible decline,
The poet continues to worriedly question,
will our grand children get
to grace this special place or
will this too begin to disappear
like the rainforests everywhere? (Page 53)
The ‘Spill, baby, spill’, says
as our little game
of Russian roulette
we willingly play
with our environment
for our lust of fossil fuel
Here, the poet explodes that we kill the birds without them ever having a chance to take flight. (Page 35). The poet addresses the garbage problem of Pacific Ocean boldly in the poem, ‘An albatross across our necks’ and says,
thousands of dead birds
litter the beautiful beach
their decomposed feathers
and the eaten plastics
are all that remains…(Page 60)
The poet calls man as the cold-blooded murderer of Mother Earth and cries in agony in the poem, ‘First they came for’,
So we few left alive huddle together
to cry out to ourselves for not stopping the
ticking of our own home-made time bomb.. (Page 68)
This collection of poems make the reader to walk through a very spacious hollow cavity dug deep inside the womb of mother earth with the poet pointing out each scratch, gash, wound made by our greedy hands with our selfish pointed nails and makes us drop our heads hanging with shame.
From wildfire of California to the zoo of western lowland, from seagulls to ravens, gorilla, wildebeest, bald eagle, wolves, coyotes, deer, polar bear, lynx, bees, dog…perhaps the whole of the poetry collection engulfs every possible lovely creature of Mother Nature and the poet draws the attention of the reader to minute details of exquisite Mother Earth and reprimands Man’s selfish motives.
Like the poet remarks about spooky Birch trees, he himself stands as sentry to Mother Earth and is startled by even the slightest movement approaching Her. Helpless all by himself, the poet through anthropocentrism moves towards rational disagreement towards Ecological Safety of the planet.
One may wish the poet to travel about the world and let the literary world see Mother Nature through his sensitive eyes, sensible insight and forethought. The poet stands as an asset to the present day emerging necessity of the literary sphere, ‘Ecopoetry’ and guards the interest of Mother Nature as a proud sentinel of English Nature Poetics.