The trail through the old-growth Thain Family Forest.
"I think that I shall never see. A poem lovely as a tree," the poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer wrote in 1913. But combining poems and trees, participants in a recent nature walk found, can add to the beauty of both.
Artist/writer Jon Cotner created his "Poem Forest" walk as part of the dedication program for the Thain Family Forest, a "rare local pocket of 17th-century woodland" newly restored by the New York Botanical Garden, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Self-Guided Tour With Poetry
The self-guided tour along the 50-acre forest's Sweetgum Trail identified 15 spots for participants to stop a read a line of poetry, with the verses selected coming from all over the world and many different eras but sharing "an attunement to the wonders of the natural world," the Journal wrote.
"The poetic lines encouraged everyone to slow down, to see and sense more clearly, to inhabit the present more deeply, and to fill with enchantment," Cotner wrote in a blog post this week for the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a traveling "urban think tank."
Such experiences don't have to be limited to the great outdoors. The artist has also created various urban walking initiatives that seek to "open poetic space" within what he describes as "increasingly cramped, increasingly bottom-line-driven cities" and promote the benefits of the commons as a place to "encounter each other and the physical landscape."