Man vs. nature
I would write in the margins
back when I was made
to do such things

I remember that
along with man vs. man 
and man vs. self
— conflict

Now, some forty years later
as I walk the trails
and see 
what I see

I wonder why
I never wrote
nature vs. man
I wonder why

back when I was made
to do such things


Just a note: I understand we more-accurately say character instead of man these days.  This poem takes me back to the 70s.  A lot of things were different back then. (And a lot of things weren’t.)

13 thoughts on “Conflict”

  1. Tim, I love your questions. The conflicts man has ravished on nature have been relentless, and it shows. Maybe nature is ready to get back at us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denise, they have been relentless indeed. As we push things further and further, I do believe we’re going to see what could be perceived as pushback. Just ask folks who live on the coasts. Thanks for reading and commenting!


  2. The themes that power all the stories…yes, maybe the verbiage has changed a little but you’re right, some things haven’t, such as conflict itself. I could wonder “aloud’ here which conflict is worst or most frightening (man vs. man?-self?) but I am more intrigued by your current wondering about nature vs. man. It’s always going to have the edge…


  3. I love the flip of nature vs. man. I feel like this is me all the time these days – not nature vs man, but the flip, the moment of “why did I never see it this way before?” Honestly, the older I get, the less I know. But hey, at least we’re still out walking the trails!


  4. These big ideas here. I love them. And this idea of nature versus man. Part of me wonders if it’s because we know, always, who will eventually win. (Of course I type this and then go back to reading the comments – so…nothing new here.) But I also wonder if part of that connects with the invincibility of youth, the willingness to see ourselves as fallible in this world. I think I have some thinking to do…


  5. I enjoyed the way the end of your poem brought us back to where you began. You left me wondering why “nature vs. man” wasn’t something we considered – and why we were required to write assigned thoughts in margins.


  6. I like how your poem returns to a time when things were different (and, yet, the same). I also really like how it describes a change in thinking and a change of heart (maybe?) in our we see ourselves in (or part from) the natural world. I love how you provided questions but no answers. No excuses. No defensiveness. Just the way it was and that is enough to make you wonder. A priceless post, Tim.


  7. Whenever you buy a used novel that has been used in a class, you can be sure to find one or more of those notations in the margin! Ruth,


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