We know the bad-news reel gets old. It’s good to stop and remember what we’re working so hard to protect. Here’s your dose of Everglades zen.

Photographer and friend of the Everglades Bob Branham captures a breathtaking Northern Everglades sunrise at the Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area in Hendry County, 29 miles southwest of Clewiston, FL.

“The Everglades”
A poem by Campbell McGrath about Everglades National Park

Green and blue and white, it is a flag
for Florida stitched by hungry ibises.

It is a paradise of flocks, a cornucopia
of wind and grass and dark, slow waters.

Turtles bask in the last tatters of afternoon,
frogs perfect their symphony at dusk—

in its solitude we remember ourselves,
dimly, as creatures of mud and starlight.

Clouds and savannahs and horizons,
its emptiness is an antidote, its ink

illuminates the manuscript of the heart.
It is not ours though it is ours

to destroy or preserve, this the kingdom
of otter, kingfisher, alligator, heron.

If the sacred is a river within us, let it flow
like this, serene and magnificent, forever.

This poem, written by Campbell McGrath, was produced as part of the “Imagine our Park with Poems” series commissioned by the Academy of American Poets. It is featured in the “Teach this Poem” program designed for K-12 educators to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. For more information about the series, please visit Poets.org.