In the din and clatter of our lives, we need ways to connect with our souls. As we noted in Reading Sacred Poetry, whenever we feel depleted, one poet or another comes along to refuel and refresh us. The quality of their attention, the way they notice things we easily overlook, summons joy and wonder within us. Their poems of both praise and lament speak the words it is sometimes hard for us to articulate. The best poets put us in the presence of the ineffable and the holy. We drop our jaws and swallow our pride.

These effects of poetry are all produced by A Nature Poem for Every Night of the Year edited by Jane McMorland Hunter, who previously compiled seven anthologies of poetry. She has a keen and sensuous purview and an appreciation for the variety of poetic expression. This collection of 365 poems will have special appeal for lovers of nature -- from wild creatures, to perky and pretty flowers, to pets, and surprising sunsets.

Near the end of the lyrical introduction, Hunter states: "These poems were not collected to form a manifesto but they all remind us that we must look after nature."

Here are the 12 chapters heads to give you an indication of the poems you will savor as you go through the year.

  • January: The Stars Were Sparkling Clear
  • February: Wild Skies and Flurring Snows
  • March: Green Leaves and Blossoms
  • April: The Nightingale Beings Its Song
  • May: The Moon Shines White and Silent
  • June: Balmy-sweet Summer Twilight
  • July: Each Daisy Stands Like a Star
  • August: Now Fades the Glimmering Landscape
  • September: Colder Airs Creeping from the Misty Moon
  • October: The Western Sun Withdraws
  • November: Withered Sward and Wintry Sky
  • December: A Silence Deep and White

There are far too many poems here that we appreciate, so we aren't going to pick favorites. We will just encourage you to let a poem have its way with you, leading you to mysterious places and moods you may not have experienced before. Perk up your senses, and let the poem be your spiritual director or cheerleader.