Nature poetry book published by Paul Aird, Professor Emeritus
When Paul Aird applied for an academic position at the Faculty of Forestry in 1974 after twenty years as a research scientist in Quebec’s forestry industry, interviewers never asked him about creative writing. As Aird went on to become Professor of Forest Conservation Policy, his poems, stories and fables about the natural world quietly accumulated in his pockets, drawers and files.
It was in 1997, by which time Aird was a Professor Emeritus at U of T, that his Loon Laughter: Ecological Fables and Nature Tales was published. Now, after brewing for some 60 years, Aird’s poetry has been collected in BUTTERFLY BEAUTIFLY BEAUTIFUL: Nature Poems.
As Aird writes in the introductory pages, “the nature poems in this book speak to my life and to my love and respect for wild plants, animals and microorganisms.” His poems reflect a lifetime of observing and experiencing Canada’s natural world as a conservationist, forest scientist and professor.
Aird’s poetry is diverse, from humorous and whimsical to deeply concerned about the fate of species and humans’ impact on the environment. The book includes the lyrics of songs that have arisen from his poems and have been recorded by Canadian performers.
Aird, Paul Leet. BUTTERFLY BEAUTIFLY BEAUTIFUL: Nature Poems. Inglewood Nature Press, 2021. 122 pp (with colour). Copies available at https://inglewoodnaturepress.ca/shop/
A couple of his poems are reproduced below for your enjoyment.
A Matter of Taste
in a pine tree
exquisite to see
in a pine tree
unpleasant to me
in a partridge
Thousands of ancestors
laboured for progress
I’m the first
with pesticides in my fat
radioactive strontium and
cesium in my bones
air pollutants in my lungs
herbicides in my wine