Blanche Baughan

I discovered poet Blanche Baughan as part of a challenge I did on Writing.com.

Blanche was born in 1870 and came to New Zealand from her native England in 1900. She wrote poems that centered around a simple, rural life in the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand, but was most widely regarded for showcasing the impact on the land by new settlers. As more people migrated to New Zealand from elsewhere in the world, they cleared native bush to create spaces for their homes and farms, etc. This destruction of the native bush and the impact of that destruction on the natural environment, was what she tried to show to others through her poetic works. Blanche died in 1958.

Logs, at the door, by the fence; logs, broadcast over the paddock;
Sprawling in motionless thousands away down the green of the gully,
Logs, grey-black. And the opposite rampart of ridges
Bristles against the sky, all the tawny, tumultuous landscape
Is stuck, and prickled, and spiked with the standing black and grey splinters,
Strewn, all over its hollows and hills, with the long, prone, grey-black logs.

~ From A bush section by Blanche Baughan

This excerpt clearly shows the visual impact of the logging at a surface level. Everywhere she looked, there were logs. Not trees, not native bush, not birds, but felled logs. I grew up on a farm in rural New Zealand, and we were surrounded by native bush. My dad placed a section of native bush under a QEII covenant, meaning that regardless of who owned it, it could never be destroyed. It became illegal to take anything from that section of bush or to harm it in any way. So this image of the destruction that Blanche saw, and the knowledge I have of what that destruction would have done to the local bird populations, really hits me.

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