Petals lift and pollen swirls
as rue anemone
flirts with April breeze
Virginia bluebells ring advent
for cinnamon-fern fiddles
that pose as if in waking pride.
How lives combine
colors and unfolding forms
and the ways each carries light,
translucent bells of blue, pink roots,
dark heads of fiddle, light green
lace of newborn fronds.
In such active burgeoning
I expect to catch them swelling
and releasing breath.
Or is that me?
A long pause for winter,
then new green revels
on the parent moss.
Sporophytes push up
through spring, spore capsules
bob high in light
and natter like babushkas
in the market
whose voices rise
just high enough into
a wind’s sigh to spread
spores wide when
the capsule fills and dries.
INVITE to WRITE #38 and Responses to INVITE #37
River seems to have carved a not-quite-human face into this stone. So what is River slowly, slowly up to? What was the sculptor’s model? Can these puddle eyes see the river’s blue? Is the mouth underwater? Contemplate this photo and see where it takes your writing. Entries are due Wed, May 16 and will be published Fri. May 18.
Email to email@example.com
No attachments please.
Responses to the gravity-confused island tree range wide and wonderfully . Please give the writers’ your response; send it to me, firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass it on.
POISED FOR FLIGHT
She stands now in this place,
Like a tree holding its roots to the hill
But spreading its limbs to the air.
In passing clouds,
She sees the faces of her children,
The hands of lovers,
The landscape of her life.
She stands now as if about to leave,
But still deeply planted,
Toes grasping soil
And sensing the heartbeat of the earth
As it thrums through her
Yet falters, starts and stops
And picks up the rhythm again.
Her feet hold fast to the ground,
To rock and the vast carpet
Of grass and furrowed field,
But already her arms grow feathers
And the wind sings with wings
And she feels the freedom
Of her impending flight.
~~Ellen Collins, Virginia
BAY OF ISLANDS
Walk lightly in this ancient place.
Marvel at upthrusts of granite
outcrops of mudstone and sandstone
everything tipped. Reach
into mossy pockets, stitched by high winds, hot lava
swirling waters. Grow bewildered, like the knobby trees
rooted sideways, the smooth basement rocks
upended, the greywacke and chert
subducted by the strike-slip process
of Deep Time.
See the whimsy, revisit the dark magic
of a childhood fairytale.
Look straight on. Recognize
the landscape of aging - the faultlines
the cracking crust, the inviting basalt pillow.
Straddle the tectonic boundary
between known and unknown.
Feel yourself compressed and lifted
to a place of zero gravity.
~~Sara DeLuca, Georgia
For Tobi, Who Is Almost Three
You will see it there 'gainst the sky of blue
The Wishing Tree
The one this Grandmother leaves for you
On an isand in the back of somewhere,
She said from her red rocking chair,
Three times in life will find you there
Beneath my tree.
Each time a wish will be granted free
And served with a cup of wisdom's tea
The first wish for your childhood dreams
The next for youth's expectant schemes
And the last for life's bright sunset's gleam
All will come true and what is more
The tea will have told you behind which door
Is the right wish you should be wishing for
I cannot name the island now
Nor tell you to get there exactly how
( there are no maps I can allow )
But I give my love which will guide you there
And I give you sails to most anywhere
And I will wave from the very tree
As you come ashore and remember me
~~Peggy Osborne, Montana
GRAVITY AND OTHER THINGS
Even as the volcano flowed to build islands black
and desolate, seeds landed on lava ribbons and vanished
pending rebirth as soil tucked in pumice pockets.
Remember the story of grain thrown
on stony ground? Was it wisdom or creative
impulse that persisted in planting a sprinkle
of seeds through time? Was it chance
that blew a bird off course over waters
until dry land was found to discharge its duty?
Roots now pursue fertility through impassable cracks.
How handsome is the tree isolate
though windblown and burdened with gravity.
I’m drawn to the off kilter trunk
twisted as though longing to watch the sun set.
I must remember the blessings
of off balance and twisted
and appreciate, on other days
a body, gravity spread and reflected
in the dressing room mirror.
~~Jenny Wolport, British Columbia
TREES OF MYSTERY!!!
Unexplained GRAVITATIONAL ANOMALY
(Free coffee and donuts to all Minuteman Missile crewmen)
~~Will Reed, Washington
THE LITTLE HILL THAT COULD
Once upon a time a tiny
little hill was hanging out
in New Zealand. Most of
his friends laughed at him
and teased him, saying
he was just a bump
in the road.
The little hill felt very
humiliated, and he
directed all of his anger
into the earth below,
which was noticed by
a nearby volcano who
sent out some tremors
to see what was happening.
The little hill told the
volcano he was tired of
being picked on, and he
wanted to a-mount
So the volcano worked
up some lava and began
forcing the little hill into
a marvelous mound.
Over time the little hill
became a real butte, and
his friends began to
They started calling him
names, like “lumpy” and
“Mesa breath.” But the
little hill began to feel
a little boulder, and
sent an avalanche
crashing down upon them.
By now the little hill was
starting to feel its range, and
began to tower over his little
friends. The little hill - who
was really no longer little -
was so tall he could catch
clouds and milk the rain,
sending it cascading down
through the bushes and
trees in a stream of
his old friends, who
by now were
over the hill.
With his mounting success
people came from miles
around to scale his gentle
slopes. His nice flat top
was very scenic, and a
perfect place for a picnic.
The other little hills
were now very proud
pf their old friends.
The little hill became a
legend, and the story of the
Little Hill That Could was
told far and wide. About
how he made a mountain
out of a molehilll.
~~Bruce Peck, Minnesota
KIDS’ POEM, Grade Two
The Boy Who Turned into a Mountain
Once there was a boy.
He had a tannish color of skin,
but the rest of him was very homely.
He had no friends,
because he was so homely.
One night he saw a star.
At once, he knew it was
a wishing star!
He wished to be not as homely.
That night, a fairy visited him.
She gave him some magic leaves
She said, “Eat one each day,
and only one for two weeks.
In the morning you will not be so homely.”
Then she left.
But, he got greedy.
He used much more than he needed.
His stuffed bear clung to him,
trying to warn him, but the bear’s plan did not work.
The boy ate two,
then he started growing bigger and bigger.
Until he became a mountain.
And the teddy bear?
The teddy bear became a little tree on the side of the mountain.
~~Alayna T , grade 2, Minnesota
KIDS’ POEMS, Tim Deyle’s Grade 5, Fargo, North Dakota
This hill may look ordinary,
But it is not.
Really it is a giant.
Yes, as shocking or surprising that it sounds.
To explain this giant is, well, complicated.
Some say it’s a horrendous, ugly, horrifying, disturbing, disgusting creature.
Others may disagree and say,
Terrific, stupendous, beautiful, gorgeous, pretty creation.
So as you can see it’s complicated to explain.
All creations are hidden.
So you must look beyond what the eye can see.
Awesome heights littering the hill,
Underneath the trees.
The grass grows to an emerald gold.
Nestling animals look for homes.
~~Lea Paxton and Hannah Devine
The Giant Hill
Of course you don’t see many of these hills around here,
But if you go on vacation, I bet you will see a big hill like this.
You don’t have to believe me but,
I have seen at least one big hill like this,
When I went on vacation.
So you never know if you will see a big hill like this,
Unless you explore the world.
Trees and plants anywhere,
It’s beautiful all the way.
So much green,
But where’s the sun?
Wind blows by on a cold day.
But it would help if there was a sun.
You’ve met my Sire, Big Pukeko.
He is my Hero
I am New Pukeko now
I will be Big Pukeko too
He told me so.
I am already Tall,
Taller than my brother.
See my long legs?
Do they not stride with power?
Look! Pin Feathers coming in.
I will beat strong wings.
See my hard head shield?
See my hard beak? That eggtooth will fall.
Soon my beak and shield will burn red
to grace my lava eyes.
You will not have lava glowing eyes.
You will not be Big Pukeko in New Zealand.
That Honor goes to Birds with Lava Eyes.
Showy trillium is the lady of threes,
leaves, sepals, white petals.
A trinity holy as any.
Her petals are lined like a woman’s ripened face,
holy in its way as trillium.
Note: Trillium grandiflorum is one of those plants that insists on having its seeds buried by ants. Toward this end it engages in a symbiosis with ants that’s been going on for long before the dinosaurs. Trillium seeds grow a tasty fatty treat on one end of its seed, called an elaiosome. When the seed capsule is ripe, the ants open it and carry the seeds home for dessert.
When the treats have filled the tummies of the larvae, the rest of the seed is carried off and thrown into the colony refuse chamber, in effect a compost pile. There, warm and buried at a useful depth, the seed decides this is a fine place to germinate. Now that’s grand.
A mourning cloak butterfly
reveals its beak-ripped wings
as it sips nectar from spring shrubs.
Birds could not catch it,
Winter could not kill it,
the old survivor will still find
another beak-torn cloak
dark against the sun and mate
bright in the promise
of two new generations
for this gentler season.
Hey! Wild Lupine’s back
Elegant as ever
Doing the old soft shoe
As her blue slippers
Climb the palette, open
And begin to hum
Sometimes the mirror
catches us off guard,
allows a startling view.
By the flooded river St. Croix
the mirrored trunks of trees
become columnar, Doric,
with a sobriety like pillars
in the cathedral nave.
They grow into depth
given them by water,
as breeze stirs mirror green
given by their heights.
Purlingbrook Falls does not babble now, nor purl.
It Roars ten inches rain, so much
it hammers itself to mist that loves
the hanging plants and palms,
an urgent cloud forest in Queensland born.
Such fine mist, these billion droplets
wetting every grace of green from
tall palms shrunk by heights
to tea trees, banya pine, rock lichen, tree ferns
down to shaggy mosses that openly
mound in such pleasure of the waterfall.
Note: Purlingbrook Falls flows in Springbrook National Park, Queensland, Australia.
These huge feet pull high
whole compost mounds, warm with cooking,
where clutches of large eggs thrive.
Papa Brush Turkey sticks his
thermometer beak into his mound
to scrape off or add as the eggs need.
Mostly Papa Brush Turkey drives off goannas
and snakes that would dig up eggs—
he pecks them long and fiercely.
If Papa’s mound is tall and round
and its temperature right in her mouth,
Mama BrushTurkeys will stop by
every few days to mate and bury their eggs.
When the crowd of babies dig out
with their new big feet
they are hungry and hunting and gone,
never needing a parent again.
Note: Brush Turkeys are native to eastern Australia. They are megapodes, (big foots) a group of conservative birds who incubate their eggs in mounds, much like crocodiles and alligators, but with even less parental care at and after hatching.
A glory gone with April
trout lily is now spotted leaves
six dry twists of petal
and at center
a green pod of seeds
That’s all we
ephemerals can say
now that each original spring
is far away,
We were beautiful.
A pair of huge green darners fly
tandem from place to place
about the pond, and at each stop
the male guards above, the female
below slits stalks and inserts eggs.
the more dispersed the eggs
the more naiads will survive
if the pond stays wet for years, for
green darners live long water lives, but
brief bright lives in sun where today
the curves of two who found a mate
in flight are mirrored in the riffled pond.
A young male painted turtle
ascends his basking log
with a cheeky arrogance
as if he owns the pond,
the way a teenage boy
tries to own the plate aping
his elders to cover his anxiety.
We know the turtle has no expression
except the brush I paint him with,
but if we deny the Others the mirror
of our faces, we can’t see ourselves
outside our selves, and there lies
the sterility of vanished empathy.
Crimson Rosella flew
from roadside to tree
to keep a beady eye on me.
Her ivory beak tucks in
like a scolded chin.
Was scaring her a sin?
I smile at her without shame,
for she is beautiful
and turned me plain.
Wild Columbine takes another turn
on the woodland stage, once again
offers pollen to bees, but refuses them
nectar she secretes tiptop in her foolscap bells.
She saves her secret selves for
ruby-throat hummingbirds that
travel north in sync with her flowering
who do then lick her sweet treasure
with their long split-tip tongues,
which quietly rings her bells day after day.
They hang over the flooded St. Croix
these double samaras of the silver maple.
If now they drop into the rage they will spin wild
in that fluid so much heavier than air
and with luck some will spit up high on a beach
where a wingset may dry enough for breeze to
twitch it inland just enough to avoid future floods.
Meanwhile the colors of green maple leaves glow
like hearth gods in this rainlight between deluges.
Dawn presents fine white plumes
that fur the small moth’s
shoulders and wings.
A porch light led this one
to rest on stucco,
a pure half-inch of white
against night’s dark.
Night needs its angels too.
They gleam in flutter flight.
Azalea flowers shredded last night by hail.
Had a glorious run.
Lucky flowers without thought, but
a fountain of clear bee guides dappled
dark on each top petal
so the job gets done.
A ray of light spills down
rainforest trees to splash
bright on orbweaver webs.
Do the spiders know their traps
are for this moment caught?
Goose and gander both go
to protect gold goslings from
To coil this strike shape
Is not their fierce caring
top of page
Go to Archives