Now that I’ve felt the elation
of the sighting of 200-plus species
of African birds, and heard
the rumbling of lions and hippos,

where could I possibly go from here?

— “Swept Away” (Heaven Underfoot, Codhill Press, 2023)

Book cover of TREAD SOFTLY by Dr. Diana Woodcock features pink flamingoes in a mangrove under a setting sun.

© 2024 Diana Woodcock, Ph.D.

Tread Softly

Richard Snyder Publication Prize Finalist

After living on the Arabian Peninsula and the Tibetan Plateau, in the Everglades (as a poet-in-residence), in Macau, Thailand, and Chengdu, China—a city so polluted the sun seldom breaks through the smog to shine—Diana Woodcock now follows Christina Georgina Rossetti’s mandate, “Tread softly! All the earth is holy ground.” This, her third collection of poems, was inspired by it. Perhaps for a poet who grew up memorizing nature psalms of the Old Testament and singing "This is My Father’s World," it was inevitable that her poetry eventually would take a turn toward ecological concerns, merging her spirituality with her love for all earthly beings.


“In a time when words like “holy”, “sacred”, “reverence” are often either avoided by writers or ghostly in their usage, the poems in Tread Softly employ such words with care and vigor, wonderfully embodied in the physical world. The tone of Diana Woodcock's poetic voice is questing, searching through four distinctly different ecosystems to experience the presence these words imply. She finds them by immersing herself in the details of the wilderness and the lives that surround her there. Occasionally, as in “Temperate Rainforest”, she speaks directly to her reader: Alone in natural splendor, become / American dipper walking under the waterfall / baptized again and again, making / of your small fragile life a light. The circle of inclusion created by Woodcock in Tread Softly is enduring and complete.”

– Pattiann Rogers, author of Quickening Fields and Holy Heathen Rhapsody

“While greed, intimidation and ignorant bluster monster above the sanctity of earth with bad intentions, Diana Woodcock’s Tread Softly seeks the quiet, the reverent footfall—the one where each cracking branch reverberates with music and significance. Resplendent with wildlife and miracle, the Eden represented here struggles against that which would defile it. ‘And where are you in all of this?’ the poet asks, what is our implication? Part Whitman, part naturalist, part fervent believer, the speaker of these poems sings ‘on the wing, between / earth and heaven.’”

– John Hoppenthaler, author of Domestic Garden

To Order

Bibliographic Information

  • isbn 9781942371489
  • pages 90 pp.
  • format 6 x 9" paperback
  • publication date March 5, 2018
  • publisher FutureCycle Press