Poems about the planet Earth reflect the close relationship that humans have with it. The unique link is defined by interdependence where one would be without life and movement without the other. The particular works of Robert Penn Warren’s “Summer Strom (Circa 1916), and God’s Grace” and Pablo Neruda’s “O Earth, the Wait for Me” describe an intricate connection between a person and another great living creature.
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Robert Penn Warren writes about the storm, its destructive nature and relates it to God. He describes the surrounding environment as becoming extremely intense and a sort of panic begins to set in. At the same time, the tone of the poem is mystic and shows the awe towards the force and grandeur of nature. When the situation is described as “In that strange light all distance died. You know the world’s intensity”, it is made obvious that the planet is an entity that has great might and can change the setting of the surroundings very quickly (Warren 119).
God is shown to be the one who controls everything, so a human being seems very small and insignificant. This relationship is not detrimental or dehumanizing but the extreme power that nature possesses and forces that are of unknown origin are the true rulers of the world and people are sometimes mere observers. This can be reflected in the last lines when Robert Warren writes: “Raw-eyed, men watched. They did not speak. Till one shrugged, said he guessed he’d make out…” (Warren 119). The helpless strength of men is described as being inevitable and unnoticeable by the great force of nature.
A poem by Pablo Neruda has a somewhat different tone. The Earth is also respected, as it is such an important part of the world but here, the person is a much closer part of the whole system. It is almost as if the person is an extension and one with the environment. This can be seen through the interconnection between the person’s world and nature’s creations: “…the wind alive like a heart beating in the crowded restlessness of the towering araucaria” (Neruda 473).
The linking of a person’s heart with the wind, a force of nature, shows how close the two are and leads to believe that there is a desperate need of the world to have people and the other way around. It is true that without the planet people would not be able to sustain life. Everything that people eat and drink, as well as air and warmth of the Sun, come from nature, and so existence without it would be impossible. On the other hand, all nature’s creations would not be appreciated if there were no organisms like humans, who can put a moral and loving value on all that surrounds life and how important it is for everyone.
It is acknowledged that the Earth has the authority to shape human lives and this can be seen in the following: “…I could live or not; it does not matter to be one stone more, the dark stone, the pure stone which river bears away” (Neruda 473). This shows the trust that a person has towards nature and the mutual understanding is expected between the two.
Overall, the poems are very descriptive of the relationship between people and nature. Even though the earth is enormous, we are part of one life and creation, forever connected.
Neruda, Pablo. Selected Poems. New York, United States: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1990. Print.
Warren, Robert. The Collected Poems of Robert Penn Warren. Baton Rouge, United States: LSU Press, 1998. Print