Caitlyn Mlodzik / The Vanguard School, Colorado Springs, CO

English Teachers: Soren Schwab

I have lived in a city my entire life, and it was not until I wrote my first poem in ninth grade that I began admiring and taking inspiration from the oldest muse in the world: nature. As graduation looms and the big “i” word (independence) bounces around in my mind, I have turned to poetry in an attempt to learn more about myself and the world I have called my home for the past seventeen years.

I wrote this poem when I began to realize the beauty and magic of the natural world: the beauty that I and many others seem to forget as we spend so much time on social media. I believe that, if we can just step away from our computer and phone screens for a few minutes, whether it be to sit on the front porch or to walk through the woods listening the “raw choruses, melodies, and harmonies” of nature, we can learn more about ourselves and the world we inhabit. Sometimes, the best mirror is an open door. I hope you enjoy this poem, thank you!


We would rather play a little game on the computer,

feeding our digital pets and tending our imaginary farms,

than go outside and grow the food and plant the seeds ourselves. 

We would rather chat online with people whose faces we’ve never seen,

whose voices have never reached our ears,

than hear the clatter of birds or the rush of leaves in the wind.

We would rather listen to the harsh clash of our fingertips on a plastic keyboard

than to the pitter patter of a fox’s paws, or the drum of a tempest upon a hillside.

We would rather slip a little disc into a magic machine and play the music we created,

            than go to nature and hear the raw choruses, melodies, and harmonies

that have been there since the dawn of time,

(music hidden in the babbling of the rivers, the veteran groans of the boulders,

and the resolute whimpers of the intrepid denizens).


I would rather lie on the bare grass, the stems prickling my sides and reminding me of the

incredible earth beneath me, as I marvel at the wondrous, incessant beauty of the sky,

than lie on a sofa staring at a blank, white ceiling with no life to offer back. 

I would rather traverse through an overgrown path, getting lost and found over and over again,

            than get trapped in the mazes of a polluted, overpopulated city,

with no Minotaur within its depths to challenge nor wings to build,

whether to escape my misfortune or fall to my doom.

I would rather learn of myself and mankind from the world we inhabit,

than sit in a hollow house, struggling to read, to write, or even to live,

without the faintest clue of the truth furrowed in the soil,

eddied through the water, and etched upon the bark of trees.

I would rather see the crisp edge of a sunset and the birth of a dark, silver rise,

than stare at a dim screen, shut off from the winsome beauty of the world and the comforts of others:

all of us with the same curiosities, hopes, yearns, and dreams of a good, meaningful life.

Dreams which made possible and impossible by nature.