Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

Photo by Doug Dobrzynski

Lily Pool beyond layered rock benches and tree

Photo by Doug Dobrzynski

Nature's Grand Orchestra


A little over six years ago I was apartment hunting in Chicago, having moved from small town Iowa right after college. I walked around and looked at apartments in several neighborhoods but nothing felt right.

Until I discovered Lincoln Park.

As the name suggests, there is a park and nature, but I never expected so much in a large urban city. The streets lined with big, mature trees awed me. I instantly knew I wanted to live in Lincoln Park and have been there since.

While I love the whole neighborhood, my favorite place is a hidden gem: the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. In it I find an oasis, an escape from the hustle and bustle of fast paced city life.

I often go there and just soak in nature. I take out my earbuds, turn off my phone, and just sit. Sometimes, I sit for hours, mesmerized by how much life surrounds me.

Today, however, I wrote poetry. That is, until I was interrupted by the Lily Pool's closing early. At first, this annoyed and angered me, getting to me more and more as I walked home. I wanted to finish my poem there. Gradually the anger and frustration inside left and instead took root in my poem.

Nature's Grand Orchestra

Loud at first the buzzing all around me.
Crescendo of insects, creatures unknown to me.
Then softer, yet somehow still loud,
nature's grand orchestra announces itself.

Waft of sweet dank flitters around me.
Decaying of matter and growth, unknown to me,
comes and goes yet somehow always remains.
Nature's grand orchestra announces itself.

Staggered rock, broken by flowers, surrounds me.
Lily pads without their lilies become known to me.
Grasses stand tall and proud yet bent and broken,
nature's grand finale announced.

Loud voice all around me.
Announcing and calling. To me?
"Park is closed, the gate is locking, you've got to go."
Nature recoils.

I finished the poem on my apartment building's rooftop deck and was inspired to write another.

Life in the City

City rising around me.
Tall buildings. Tall buildings! TALL BUILDINGS!
"Look at me!" they yell.
Yell I say!

I cower in their shadows,
keeping my head down.
Perhaps they won't notice me.

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