Comments 7

Red, by Ronin Waters

“Those who think Nature is a lady
Misunderstand her.
Those who think her graceful
Have been deceived.

Nature is not gentle
She is not kind
Or warm
She is nobody’s lover….”

Red, by Ronin Waters on

I don’t usually get poetry – years of habitually structured thinking has left my mind too rigid to fully appreciate the organic fluidity and raw evocative power associated with most poems. But once in a while, something clicks. This is one of those welcome exceptions.

Like Larson’s There’s a Worm in My Dirt, Red reminds me that nature is not humane. The poem also succinctly explores humanity’s relationship with the Other; notions of exploitation and profound alienation are conveyed in a few simple powerful verses. I would love to hear your thoughts on the rest of the poem.

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A Hong-Kong Canadian writer based in Berlin, Isaac currently is at work on his debut nature essay collection titled "Utter, Earth," forthcoming in Fall 2023 from West Virginia University Press.


  1. Red in tooth and claw, yes, but not graceful? Humans are perpetually fascinated by nature’s terror and, yes, beauty. From predators like hawks, tigers, and even the domestic cat, all graceful in their pursuit of the next meal, to the awe-inspiring terror of tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, beauty and grace intertwine with destruction.

    I’m no philosopher, I can’t explain what this means, but it’s there.

    • I’ve been mulling it over for a bit, and the message I take out of that is that nature is more than what we perceive it to be. We can associate it with values of grace and beauty, terror and cruelty, but the poem reminds us that those associations come from us, and that nature is more than what it means to us.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  2. There is a theory that explains Nature as :”eat or be eaten”, if so, then Nature might be regarded as raw and ferocious.However,is it nature or is it Man, this monster who destroys.?The poem seems to reply that if Nature has become more terrifying it is we who have betrayed that essential trust,and broken many links in the finely balanced cycles of sustainability .Nature’s essential role is to create life.Man,it seems ,is on track to enforce extinction.

    • I think both nature and humans can be agents of destruction and creation, since humans are inseparable part of nature. But you’re right, I think the poem speaks to a growing disconnect and a lack of respect of the natural world.

  3. This poem is one I’ll have to sit with for a while. I agree that nature is not such a simple force that we can constrain with our human values.
    Perhaps, I’m too anthropomorphic, but I believe that nature “cares” about all species including humans, but the way nature cares is beyond our capacity to truly comprehend. I tend to equate nature with the Tao in my mind, and see nature as part of the flow of time and evolution.

    • I’m glad that I got to share something that requires some time to take in and digest! 🙂

      I do think nature has many qualities that are similar to the Tao: Mysterious, always changing, defies definition, and the base source of all potential.

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