A flotilla of golden goslings
paddle flat feet fast to keep up
between parents determined
that all fourteen will survive.
Cobra neck ready to thrust,
the male defines defense.
Mother keeps the line tight
and murmurs to her clutch.
In wisdom without bounds,
they teach to flee the human me.
With careless ease
A swirl of starflowers
green star, white star, green,
climb to the oak trunk
that shelters them.
The forest lily mayflowers
bud still green, eager
to share their own white.
Solomon’s seal arches
over a plunging oak root,
over leafing rue anemone.
So many wildings love the oak,
its shelter and security. Each tree
creates a wild community.
Note: These small plants flourish there because they are fed beyond their own roots by the oak’s mycorrhizal symbiosis with soil fungi.
Bright and new to breathing air
a little marsh bluet joins hundreds
of his kind who all found this the time
to crawl up a stem and slowly shrug
his beauty into daylight to find his
portion of rainbow to reflect.
Neck inflated, beak up and ready,
big mama snapping turtle
eyes me from distance
as she basks on a muskrat house,
four legs stretched to sun
to cook off winter’s leeches.
She warms herself awake before
she plows through land’s new growth
to dig a hole so deep it’s dark
and squeeze out one by wrinkled one
the twenty eggs she grew all
the sleepy underwater winter.
In the California coastal dunes
A spotted beetle on an ice plant flower
is joined by small ichneumon wasps,
whose stingers became drills
to squirt their eggs down, all three
flower lovers intent on pollen, gold
goddess food that turns the earth.
Freshly reborn with wings,
a four spot skimmer
revels in his second life.
Warm amber leads his wings,
black lace threads white
as wings join abdomen
where gold punctuates each side.
Colors fair as fairy tales,
dragons once more
rattle-weave the skies.
Wild geranium thrives beneath
the same leaf-dapple light
as sensitive fern and horsetail .
Pink infused with blue,
petals lined with bee guides,
these jewels make love
in meticulous sequence.
When buds unwrap and open,
pollen dangles from male anthers
for bees to come gather
to feed their young.
When the pollen’s carried off
the female vessel emerges
as a golden star where pollen
gifted by a bee from another
plant will race down the style
to quicken the ovary to make seed.
Love that golden star!
Beauty has its ways.
This symbiotic sequence prohibits self-fertilization. In the photo, the younger right hand blossom shows the ‘male’ offering of pollen. On the left hand older blossom, the female stigma star has quickly emerged. Most flowers require cross-pollination, as do we all.
6.10.2011 INVITE to WRITE #19 & #20
INVITE TO WRITE #20
In Nature, many sights we see contain stories. Contemplate this abandoned nest and write from the story it calls up in you.
Your responses are due June 22, and will be published June 24. Send to:
Morning.firstname.lastname@example.org No attachments please.
RESPONSES TO INVITE #19—an intriguing wide variety of writing here. Thank you kindly for taking me up on the INVITE. Fine work, people.
Do you see the strength in her stance,
the taut flicker of her tongue,
her wings' alert curve?
She cares for her children with
every ounce of her soul riveted
to protect them from others
and from themselves!
It is her love, and the water's
exuberant spray that nourish her,
And if you will allow yourself to open,
even if only a narrow chink to start,
there will be space for these
to quench your parched lips as well!
~~Sharon Rosen Lopez
I will protect my own
We travel the land and sky
Seeking only a small space
For little ones to grow and be.
I will protect my own
Our flight inspires poets
May Sarton called us wild
And wrote of the lament our leaving brings.
I will protect my own
So that they too can mark the seasons
With their southward flight signaling the coming of the cold and dark
And their return heralding spring's renewal.
I will protect my own.
~~Jane Jackson, New Jersey
With all of who I am I say to you
THIS IS MINE!
He speaks from a deeper primal urge
to eat, to mate, to protect his watery realm.
As it has been before as it will be now – it works.
Not much has changed in the world of
the two leggeds who invade his world
with guns to hunt, poles to fish and
governments and other two leggeds to conquer.
Only a tiny, yet significant difference.
Where his long red tongue does the job with no hint of blood
to mar the clear surface of watery community,
we of the prime “intelligence” are not satisfied
with simply tonguing our way to territorial dominance.
No, we must have bigger trophies,
that speak of our dominance.
Methinks I would rather live with the geese.
~~Linda Leary, Colorado
Spring comes through bent rushes
bearing pollen dust on rising water
and hanging white feathers on last year’s grass.
Downwind, the gander honks to his goose
a reassurance of domain retained.
They preen, settle their wings and feed
on lime and emerald green.
Spring is tumult. Threats rise
and the goose pair is wedged
between the armada upstream
and the bullies down.
Heads low, they honk,
confirm their partnership
in a ballet of open beaks on snake necks.
With pink tongues hissing
they challenge all invasions.
Wings beat. Beaks aim for breasts
and water veils the battle
as goose goes after goose and the gander
thrashes the upstart male
flight feathers caught in black beak
body bearing down and wing blows
battering attempts to escape.
This is a seesaw
where equilibrium won’t exist
for this pair have nested here before,
their partnership splintering attackers
who have not learned to collaborate
in battle, or bond in repair.
~~Jenny Wolpert, British Columbia, Canada
Dear, sweet lovers,
I would let you be,
To rest content
in your reverie.
In still, calm moments
of lake and sun,
I deeply know
that we are one.
But my ego flares
in sudden fear
That I might starve
if you are near.
So please forgive
this feigned attack;
Then I will yield
your nest spot back.
I’ll drift in stillness
‘till I find
to stir my mind.
We had a goose once
On a pond in Missouri
We had lots of geese there
From time to time
Transient geese, stayed a day or two, or for the summer
The geese were Canadas, and very beautiful.
The one I mentioned, the old gander
Was especially both fond and cagey.
I would spread corn in the shallows
And he while he ate eagerly, watching me from the corner of his eye.
I would walk away stealthily with my head turned slightly
To watch him.
Just when I thought I was safe I would hear the frenzied patter of feet
With a bit of wing flap for speed, and he would bite me again
Right on the back of a thigh. It darn hurt!
On the other hand
He was quite fond of Beer Time.
At the end of a long, hot day of yard-keeping
My husband and I would settle in near pond’s edge,
Deck chairs and beer in a bucket of ice
The gander would join us and greedily consume the ice cubes
Then, a few times, he would jump up in my husband's lap
And snuggle down.
Whether this was for warmth or fondness or pride-of-ownership
Being city people
We never really figured out.
~~Peggy Osborne, Montana
Defense is prime......
My food source,
My family’s space!
Focus on my fierceness.....
I am here!
~~Sarah Zuccarelli, New Hampshire
The neighborhood hover-craft charges up
his engine, defending the family's mooring.
Neither in the lake nor out, he flames the air
between, and threatens dire harm to trespassers.
In August he'll float calm and tall, but this
month, vigilance---flap and beak and hiss!
Neighbors aren't neighbors in April. Any gander
cruising near, might angle for the biggest and best
of his oversized brood. He and his spouse could do
with fewer, but not if he can help it. And so the lake
has less space than before. Sir White-tie Goose flew
only as far as Kentucky---ensured he'd have first dibs
upon return (he cheats.) He'll crop the shoreline grass
clean gone, leave slimy green remains---to make us
slip and fall, and foul our way---but no one, feathered
or bare-skinned, eats goslings for dinner today!
~~Denise duMaurier, Washington
Hear My voice
A Sky navigator – A survivor
This is mine – This water – My Earth
Take care of it
We share the same stardust
Breathe the same air
She is mine too - this treasure
This blue marble
Cherish Her –
Protect Her and Her Vulnerable
Join the Earth voice sounds
To Sing, Hiss, Honk and Bark
Move Gently Traveler
Join our cacophony choir
Lift Voice to Life
~~Kathleen Huntley, Montana
SPECIAL BONUS POEM
On Writing Poetry in Old Age
I had not forgotten beauty
The memory just hid away
I had filled my life with duty
And let practical hold sway
I must think again to wander
In the morning's dreamy mist
I must revel in black thunder
Bend down for a child's kiss
I would be pierced with lovely
In all its force, for my recall
Note each bird-word covey
And forgetfulness forestall
~~Peggy Osborne Montana
How they do face wind! Like bellied sails,
branches of a dragonfly roost carry
those just born-again, gloriously winged
after months of water-breathe in life one.
Now the sky, now the air dance.
Hundreds play windsock while dark
clouds of others dapple sun in flight
as they practice second coming skills.
When new wings graze another
we hear crackly cellophane.
A black swallowtail winkles her hollow tongue
all the way down the long tubes of mountain bluet,
tube by tube, blossom by blossom until
a bumblebee insists on her pollen rights.
Black Swallowtail is demure in her colors,
subtle through translucent wings,
even though known to be flighty,
while Ms. Bluet is flagrantly obvious
with her cornflower blues.
But hey, she gets the pollen on the stigma.
Red squirrel leapt from roof to feeder
and landed on long springy toes smack
dab on the black sunflower seeds
which he lifts to his mouth in
busy-fingered hands that in concert
with teeth shuck seeds so quickly
a midden of spent shells all but covers
the feeder. No chipmunk cheeks to fill,
he must swallow all he can carry off.
When he perches on the feeder edge
to look at me sideways, I’m as charmed
as the boy who once wiggled when
red squirrels from the big red pine
rummaged for peanuts in his pocket.
after the fire
tosses her head
Ms. Boojum tree finds Red Barrel cactus
so attractive she curves her open top
toward Barrel’s red sharp fulsome spines.
Ms. Boojum’s courtship has bent on for months,
but Barrel’s spines seem utterly disinclined.
The Cholla below boojum claim her trunk’s gone soft,
while Sour Pitaya in the foreground has no use
for desert shenanigans, would spit if there were any water.
(But one of Pitayas’s arms does reach out to Red)
So it’s Fathers’ Day. I’m out making photos
not thinking about family stuff, when four
tent caterpillars all but asked me to take their picture.
They had interrupted feeding
and lined up by size on an alder leaf,
posed big to small, most mature to least,
although at any age, they look good:
those stripes of blue with gold teardrops.
They did not know Dad, or how to find him,
but they all had dreamed their folks with wings
so asked me to send this photo around
on the chance flighty Dad would see it
& maybe recognize his growing family,
& just might try to get in touch.
The little buggers touched my heart,
so I said I would do everything I could.
Please go hang around a streetlamp at night,
and show this photo to every moth you see.
Note: This photo was not posed or altered in any way.
A dragonfly rests on wild phlox.
Both are brand new, phlox buds
unrolled in morning light,
the corporal dragon just climbed
slowly from its larval shell
and found four wings. Fresh
from rebirth, the dragon rests.
Phlox and dragon share pastels.
Note: Dragonflies,, of course are insect predators that do not visit flowers for nectar or pollen—this one is just resting & getting used to its new reality.
Simple low flowers
take their places in the sun
Earth’s casual art
Little blue-eyed grass is shy,
lives cloistered among
roadside grasses, roadside weeds.
Throat of yellow, petals blue,
she carries colors of her wild
Blue Flag cousin, blooming now.
Her truth is that of Iris, Attic
goddess of the rainbow,
messenger of gods. Perhaps
she failed a message way back
when, and since has hid her face
in tall veils of grass, but her clear
simple beauty will be sought
and shall not be denied.
6.24.2011 INVITE to WRITE #21 and
Responses to INVITE #20
A quaking aspen leaf fell from its tree. Its pattern is a bright mystery. Contemplate this pattern of bright chlorophyll green on a dead leaf and see where it takes your writing.
Responses are due Wednesday July 6 and will be published Friday July 8. Email entries to
Responses to the abandoned eggs were fascinating. Enjoy.
What tragedy has torn the nester from her nest?
Exposed her fragile charges,
Desolate in the decaying air
A vital link is lost
No answers for my grieving stare.
~~Jane Jackson, New Jersey
It came in early dawn
When heads were tucked in slumber
Beneath their tented wings
A shade against the moon
A shadow, change of light
No sound of swoop
From gliding rounded flight.
It struck, a silent weight
Of talons, feathers, beak
To tear the two
Just-hatched , golden treasures
From their sleep
The beat of wings, the screams
Woke colonies of birds
Added fantasy to fear
And so the guardians fled
Silhouettes against the moon
In the cacophony of dread
Up the valley pine branch quivered
Owlets opened wide their mouths
Tenderly the mother met their hunger
Tenderly she cosseted them under her soft down
~~Peggy Osborne, Montana
Be beauty born, and born in sweet repose
From restless dreams of gander long since flown,
And do not think how short your stay might be,
Or how your song might never fill the air.
Be made of silken threads and helix stairs
To climb into the perch of these taut lines
So you might see the east, north, south, and west,
And when you gaze into the darkest eyes
Meet sparkling fate like flight and nobly rise
To feed the needs of creatures born to here
Consume the food of gods, the seeds of doom.
~~Judith Mosby, Virginia
Sir Francis Drake
Sterile pearls lay in the sun
A proud display of rich potential
Like barren sand or sterile soil
Waiting for fertile seed’s creation
A promise of next time while waiting
Patiently for Sir Francis Drake’s return
Brooding she swims away – swaying her femaleness
Where is her English Drake?
Once again circumnavigating the earth?
She committed to him for life before he fled
Now she lays pearls - in practice
Waiting for the return of his Golden Hind
~~by Kathleen Huntley, Montana
A clutch of goose eggs
broken and exposed in a well-made nest
speaks of calamity.
We try to guess the story.
We picture a skillful predator
piercing the shells, sucking up the juice of life.
Or we imagine the mother snagged by a giant turtle,
her webbed foot clamped in its jaws,
her body dragged to a frantic death.
We hear her partner paddling the marsh,
squawking in despair.
We understand, instinctively,
this is no case of cowardice
or lack of purpose.
I wasn't ready for responsibility . . .
I won't raise children in this damaged world . . .
I'm seeking self-fulfillment
so I don't have time for this.
Such weak laments
belong to a higher species.
is for creatures with more brains
than God gave a goose.
~~Sara DeLuca, Georgia
left exposed on an island of straw
smooth white eggs await birth
for many a predator
where is mother
father also out of view
from the blue
keen eyed hawk swoops
~~Nan Montgomery, Minnesota
Water rises and flows like dreams, now goes
gentle around a goose nest, catches the sky
then hesitates as marsh grasses slow dance.
There’s melancholy here, a deep blue brown
anchoring the raft of vegetation.
Four eggs exposed
a shame of vulnerability like bare buttocks
pull our eyes
and we back away
scan for wind-scattered birds
that may return.
Another day after the storm
and it’s the end of wondering
if the nest is a beginning. One egg
at distance from the clutch resurrects exclusions,
primal fears of abandonment.
it’s hard to accede to powerlessness.
Through chaos and silence
mothers strive against events beyond sway.
We rarely concede that thriving
is as distant as the man in the moon
or at least next year.
~~Jenny Wolpert, British Columbia, Canada
When they returned, their nest was gone,
Kidnapped, kicked into the creek, dislodged
and carried with the flow. Culprit nowhere.
A beaver, snapping turtle, fox---an acrid scent,
warning of the earthbound stench of crime.
No, to tending ruined eggs, hard-boiling in the sun.
"Chicken on a Raft," goes the old sea chanty.
Fried eggs on toast. What has sucked raw yolks
this morning? Minnesota chill, or waking snakes?
Who can say what makes the fearful parents
fly away? Something shoved that raft downstream
into the greening weeds. Adrift, and not yet
hatched. Turned into golf balls caught
in a hazard of twigs. White spheres, buoyant
in a clutch of death. Some babies don't survive---
and Nature is nothing but random.
~~Denise duMaurier Washington
Precarious eggs never had
a guarantee of survival,
but what happened to mom
is part of what we'll never know.
and you hope this life has no
memory of her warmth but only
the recognition of sun and the water
where they will return.
~~Marilyn Winsor, Minnesota
When the recipe says Take 4 eggs
it doesn’t mean from a near- sunken
beaver house, pre-cooked in sun,
laid to rest in a swath of reflected blue sky
by parents who’ve met their demise.
NOT laid to REST! but to break
into gateways for fluff, beak and paddling feet,
the pride of the pond.
There are new books in the sun,
"To Die in Mexico" being one
I must read Instead of abandoning
that land to the drug lords of death
And not going there.
~~Pegatha Hughes, California
Bonus Poem: Written from the snapping turtle
Changing little in 40 million years, confusing evolution - that which evolves - with that which survives. Yet, here she is, sunning himself, while the dinosaurs she once lived with are extinct.
She lacks the same sense of humor that once bored her ancestors to death. While she is old, she is not revered as wise. Perhaps her greatest attribute is her ability to live in the NOW - though probably not in the way Ekhart Tolle envisioned.
She does not wish upon a star
or carry moonbeams in a jar
The closest that she gets to fun
is sitting in the noon-day sun
She does not even think it rude
she must survive on uncooked food
Sentenced to exist in grime
she quite enjoys a bed of slime
Lacking joy she still is blessed
not to suffer much from stress
She is so slow it seems unfair
she won a race once with a hare
Buried in her dismal fate
she simply can’t appreciate
the magnitude of what was done
lacking any word for ‘won’
Unlikely she could comprehend
the concept ‘start’, the object ‘end’
Yet still to find somewhere somehow
that gift of living in the now....
~~Bruce Peck, Minnesota
Tall yellow flag iris
flourishes in the wet soils
of bogs and rivers,
such as the banks of the river Lys,
in France and Belgium
It is called the flower of Lys,
also known as the fleur de lis.
In America it has gone wild, even
called invasive here and there
but in most every eye and heart,
redeems itself each June.
The Goddess Iris, to classic Greeks,
was the Messenger of Gods.
Yellow flag added to her resume:
from Medieval on, Messenger of Kings.
Note: In the past lilies and iris were regarded as in the same family of flowers.
A host of small blue horns of plenty
hang in clusters from their spires,
as if foxgloves shrunk to mousegloves.
Their bicolor hues define pellucid.
Their ladder leaves say “climb”
like the sumac whose light they share.
Deer will curl it round their tongues,
for these are sweet flowers of lucerne
escaped the pasture loving wild.
At the center of the wild rose
just before it fades, a hundred
anthers still top their filaments,
pollen long given to the fur
of hungry bees and syrphid flies
so the many ovaries can create
within the hip a multitude of seeds.
Bare of pollen gold the anthers
brown with yellow edge show me
once again to see the beauty
in the aging flower even as it fades.
The damselfly called River Jewelwing
as it mates, makes a heart like a wheel,
as do all the dragons and the damsels.
Unlike the song, these bend their wheels
all which ways—it’s hard to figure out--
and when they get connections right
help mend the mother Earth.
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