The Wolf Within – A Poet’s Heart

karenShragg(Editor’s note) Karen’s voice is one of guardianship and caring for the Earth. It is a voice that we all need to pay more attention to. When I finished reading her book, I felt awakened and emotionally shaken.

Karen Shragg is an author of children’s books, poet, naturalist and  an over-population activist. She has been the director of Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield, MN since 1991.  Her most recent work, The Wolf Within, is a selection of poems that she says comes to her in the early morning hours. Karen’s book is available on Amazon, and she has graciously allowed me to select a few poems to share with the readers.


The Wolf Within

History repeats itself

When no one’s paying attention

cover photo by Stan Tekiela

cover photo by Stan Tekiela

They opened a season on your majesty

Barely recovered from the last time your absence

Encouraged the elk and deer to kill off the forests.

Now hunters drool to get a piece of your fur

On their mantles

Killing you as if there could ever be enough

of your packs of predatory prowess

of your tight knit families

of your nerves of steel

You are part of the balance

A part of our spirit

We all have a wolf within

A shared story of survival

Use your cunning to find

Reservations that will protect

You from the slaughter

Canis Lupus, friend of the wild

Keeper of the the Ojibwe spirit

Protector of the balance we once knew.



Frack it

Crack it

Pump it

Dump it

Pollute it

Loot it

Pile up lies

Ignore the cries

Fuel the greed

Feed the need

Rape the land

To get the sand

I wish they’d never found

This poisoned goo under the ground




 I believe in things science cannot measure

Hepatica (Wade)

Hepatica (Wade)

Like the joy of laughter erupting between two friends

When lovers talk

Using only their hands

When beautiful melodies reach your ears

and dance in your soul

When art reaches your eyes and lifts

you off the ground

When the first blooms of spring

Make you feel like singing to strangers

Being open to embracing the immeasurable

Asks only that we leave dogma in the dust.


Loon Speak

If only I spoke Loon

Or Maybe Kingfisher

Or Egret, even Heron would do



I would tell them all not to fly

To the Gulf this fall

Go somewhere

We haven’t yet destroyed

Skip over the oil-slicked waters

So you can return to us in the spring

But even if I could

Speak to the migrators

How would I explain

What happened to their home?


Remember Me With Laughter

Remember me with music

You’ll always sing my song

Tears pump through your veins

but don’t let them linger long.

Remember me with laughter

Now that my time is due

Death may be our journey

But I live on through you.

Remember me with moonlight

From full to when brand new

The moon will be my residence

So I can shine on you.

Remember me with summers

The times when we were clever

Memories savored one by one

Just know my love’s forever.


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3 Responses to The Wolf Within – A Poet’s Heart

  1. Dave Paxson says:

    All of Karen’s poetry — as well as her other writings — continue to inspire me. My life is so incredibly much richer because of her!

  2. Joan Ungar says:

    Thank you, Larry, for passing o these lovely, meaningful poems. Joan Ungar

  3. Cheryl Smith says:

    Eloquent poems. Thanks for sharing!

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