A violet leaf grows and glows green
within the hollow of an old cow bone
sawed to please a pet dog’s jaws.
When Mother Nature slaps me
upside the head with metaphor,
I try to accept the teaching.
She shows again her antic humor,
smile upon her green resurgent face.
The leaf is honeysuckle, as should be.
What I thought one white butterfly
turns out to be two, creating more.
On the forward lover one leg curls up.
I say the leg curls in response to this joining
on a new green leaf in warm sunlight.
This is communion we can share,
man with butterfly, spring to reborn spring.
A painted turtle looks on as a hen
blue-winged teal sits on one wide foot
while scratching an itch. On one leg,
her mate looks on without response,
as wise mates do across kingdoms.
Dog or duck or human, furred,
feathered or near-naked skinned,
skins itch, and with our claws
and paws and furtive nails we
scratch each itch that we can reach.
Watching others deal with itches
often wakes our own, and words!
Reading these will make you itch,
Maybe nose, or just behind the ear,
right now. It’s OK. Scratch.
I fret a little, for the turtle.
If she itches, no way can she scratch.
I suspect this is the reason the turtle
has perfected InShell-Meditation,
easily observed if undisturbed.
The surprise gift
of wild blue phlox
down among leaves
on the forest floor
dark in tree shadows,
redeems my own.
A chipmunk measures me
after his dash away.
He looks straight at me.
Why am I surprised by
vision binocular style?
He travels trees.
If I saw me I’d run too,
but chipmunk takes his time
to figure what I’ll do.
Love that startled white
around dark eyes.
When the shutter clicks,
and my eyes lift,
he’s not in them.
The male cardinal passes a shelled
sunflower seed to the female
Cardinals renew their bond
as obliged for nesting.
He must feed her so, before
she will mate with him.
Now they will sing duets.
This makes us smile, makes
some of us all dewy-eyed.
And why not?
It grows a bond our spirits need.
Captured droplets of the sun
against lush green leaves
bright my eyes and light away
the last of winter shadows.
Marsh marigold blossoms
edge now woodland streams,
brighten wetlands under trees
whose leaves are not yet full
so Mary’s gold can return
the captured drops of sun.
Between a gap in her three large leaves
between her three pale green sepals
Nodding Trillium lifts her white petals three
to make it easy for the bee girls
to taste her nectar sweets and
pollinate her split stigma, curled into three.
On a cloud calm day
seven goslings and their geese
serenely churn into a gray
unknown, as if they will swim
across the edge of the sea,
which they create as they swim.
They will not fall off,
for we know that gold
will best gray and will abide.
Cottontail bounds across the gravel
and stops in greening brush,
looks back to see if I will hunt .
His eyes are wide, set high
to see red tailed hawks and eagles
dropping from the heavens.
He’s frozen, no twitch of nose,
but adrenaline floods his blood,
muscles poised to thrust.
I cherish rabbit ears that swivel
all directions and carry
sunlight’s capillary glow.
Air hums with bees,
air fragrant with trees
alive with flowers white
Each petal is concave
from its bud ball,
the whole cupped,
a five-petaled hand
filled with treats
for all flyers who can
thrum the air.
White panicles of autumn’s grass,
bereft of seed and purpose,
offer themselves to water dark
with other offerings.
Tiny cups, bright with sun,
ride the tip of each thin stem
where a flower rode
and finally a seed.
The pattern of branch
and nodal rebranch,
thick to thin to fine,
each step to cup inevitable
as the softly struck piano key
that brings a music to a close.
A yellow-headed blackbird
looks at me as I look at him,
neither of us alarmed.
I am struck with his strength,
he doubtless not with mine.
His feathers are black velvet, gold,
I am the featherless biped, jeans.
He stays where he is, I where I am,
but I want to be perched on a cattail, him.
A young snapping turtle fixes me in spoked eyes,
a dead on stare.
Hisses through her snorkel nose.
On gravel I kneel
but she cares not for submission.
Her neck pulls in deep, concertina skin
in folds hides a neck full half her shell
that shoots her beak
blink-quick to prey or foe, to stun and bite.
When I snap a photo
of those eyes (yes, trying to steal her soul )
she lunges, strikes
as her raised hind legs thrust her forward
under mine, even as
I find my cane and lurch upright to
I’d placed on gravel to one side.
Her spoked eyes spook me,
charm me, steal my own ironic soul.
The yellow warbler hops
branch to tangle branch,
afraid I want her eggs.
She is daring bold,
flies close, stays bright
in my eyes to lure me
from the nest
that must be near.
Her mate flies perch
to perch less close
than she. I’m slow.
As it dawns on me
they fear me so,
I take my path away.
Earth slaps me
upside the head again
with a sore-thumb
skunk cabbage caged
by a strong dry leaf.
I get it.
Trapped by past dead,
can’t open and grow.
I get it. OK?
a patch of yellow lady slippers
adorned with red-dot bee guides
so the little bees they need
will clamber about in the pouch
trying to buzz the way out until
they push their velvet bodies
past pollen-sticky anthers
and escape to another
aromatic yellow orchid.
A bud opens to morning.
Wild geranium begins its dance of fives.
Five petals unfold rose-purple
to lift five anthers of pollen gold
to where bees and wasps and hover flies
must powder their bristles with yellow
even as their tongues push to nectar.
When the first five anthers empty,
another five anthers of gold rise.
Thus the yang of flower fives.
As the center female pistil
becomes receptive on her day
she will split into five stigma
to welcome from bees
five chosen pollen grains
to race down pistil to ovary
to grow five seeds.
Thus the yin of flower fives.
Many plants limit self-fertilization by being sexy sequentially, first the male stamen is available, then, when pollen is exhausted, the female style with its stigma-tip becomes receptive. Cross-pollination is an evolved choice, testament to the very early coevolution of insects and flowers.
In every place with trees these days,
tiny caterpillars descend on silk
they spin from lower lips.
In spring winds they swing wild
around the compass but their silk holds.
They are mature now, seek soil
to cocoon and become moths.
So I am taught.
But this day, in windless heat,
many sun-bright caterpillars
are climbing up again,
after almost reaching ground.
Dark heads bend sharply to
their third true leg pair where
they bundle silk to pull back up.
I can’t know why. So.
Accept ignorance, cherish mystery,
simply enjoy this small life that purely
knows what it’s about.
Goose and gander both go
to protect gold goslings from
To coil this strike shape
Is not their fierce caring
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