A broken egg upon the ground.
First impulse is “Oh No.”
Everybody likes eggs:
Squirrel, Jay, Crow steal songbird eggs.
But I look again
see the hole chick pecked
before hatch, find no dried yolk,
so was no theft, no one is bereft, relax.
Parent birds clean house
toss fecal sacs and eggshells both
at distance from the nest.
Frost lives again as May dies,
begins to melt with sunrise.
Microclimate of bare soil resists,
frost persists ‘till noon,
and isn’t that the way of winter cold,
old suitor who won’t take No
however loud we shout heart and soul.
Tent caterpillars hatch inside their tent, a horde
that will feed on any leaves they climb to
until the host is stripped, then go to ground,
search out another tree or shrub
in yellow files on forest floor.
Trees are bare but leaf again.
Meanwhile, birds with nestlings
fill their gapes with caterpillars.
For blue jay, oriole, nuthatch, and more
this bonanza is perfectly organized
as young crawlers become young birds
and fly before their time.
I find in May a new-hatched turtle
trekking across a dry sand county road.
Assumed it was an ordinary painted turtle,
until I turned him over and Wow!
the plastron’s bold brushed black designs
from a language lost in beginnings.
(Try to pronounce these letters.)
To me brand new, he’s a map turtle.
Their hatchlings often overwinter in the nest,
which explains his presence on dry sand,
far from water if you are two-bit size.
I am quite in love with a being new
So I relive the boy, take him home,
Photograph his plastron,
turn him loose in the pond.
Try to pronounce those letters.
(I think they must be vowels.)
6.7.2013 INVITE to WRITE #55 and Responses to INVITE # 54
The photo today is © Brock Davis. He made this treehouse for his son. Thank you Brock.
This photo takes me back to childhood, enlarging the world by making it small. I glued up popsicle sticks and balsa scraps galore to make cabins and forts. My efforts lived brief lives, like this brocolli tree must as well. What care it took to brace the cabin’s weight against the trunk. The haphazard ladder rungs fastened to the tree is classic. As with much art, here we find the large rising from the small and immediate. Contemplate the photo and see where it takes your writing.
Email your writing to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wed., June 19. They will be published on Friday, June 21. Again I remind you that this INVITE is a sharing across community, not a competition.
Responses to the Girl in Storm range from personal memoir to deeply felt meditations. Fine work, all of it. Thank you. If you admire a piece, please make the writer’s day. Celebrate achievement. Let the writer know. Send me an email and I will pass it on.
POETRY IN A STORM
Ah Poetry, that slender waif,
Beset by fickle winds of chance,
Her labored sheets no longer safe,
But lost in breezes' frenzied dance.
As so much beauty wafts afar,
Perhaps to burial in the sea
Or drifting ever like a star
To seek an unknown destiny,.
May errant winds reverse their course
And blow back every missing page,
Restored to Poetry, their source,
So needed in a prosaic age!
~~David R. Brink, Minnesota
Our thoughts come and go:
Unattached they drift about
Sometimes storming here.
Reading pages pass
From knowing into dream
Living on elsewhere.
Grasses whisper Love,
Hair wraps about hope and bone,
Answers lie within.
~~John Wilson, Minnesota
~~ Chelsea Rae Prax, New York
The umbrella will not shield you
The guard that you depended on
diminishes with each gust.
Let it go and listen to the wind.
The haze begins to clear,
you can gain strength, clarity.
Hold on instead to the pages,
what's in them will sustain you.
Pay attention to the you that is in
But keep your footing.
Hold on girl, I see an edge - of cliff? -
not far away.
Let go of the umbrella.
~~Mary S. McConnell, Wisconsin
The Wind Said NO!
Standing in the past,
troubled and sorrowful,
…the wind said, “no”.
Let go of the pieces
keeping you rooted,
Let go. Move on
Open to possible
birth a newness.
…the wind said, “yes”.
Katherine Edwins Schumm, Florida
It’s a windy day. I’m ten. I climb the monkey bar
And hang by my feet. The clouds grow dark,
The wind bellows, and then, pain surrounds my face in darkness.
I’m flat on the tar, which was below, my face engraved
In small holes. Susan yells, “Ahk! She’s cut her head open.”
I resent her. She never liked me. Feeling’s the same.
Girls surround me, walk me, step by step, into the school
And somebody takes me to the kitchen so my head
Can be iced. There, the light’s yellow, though I can hardly see,
And someone says, “Your mom’s coming.” I smell pus for weeks
As my face balloons, the doctor hesitates to do anything,
My nose has broken, and the black beneath my eyes
Hollows me back in time. I am a swamp thing, amazing,
Nocturnal, and nobody wants to walk with me.
~~Judith Mosby, Virginia
Marveling in How Words Come to Us and My Love for Nature
the words come,
in a torrent unbidden.
An inrush needing outlet.
And then the question,
answer unnecessary, really.
Are we writer or simply Scribe?
Push of button
releasing winds of energy.
Scattering the words and pages
seeds of offerings.
Perhaps a fertile sacred few
feed a soul,
gladden a heart,
breathe life anew
to one faltering.
It is little enough to hope for,
to paint a picture
to show another
through mere words
that this magnificent earth,
and each sacred one of us
are connected to each other and to all
woven and bound by the Great Maker.
So loved and never alone.
~~ Judith Blackford, Minnesota
The Artist in the Storm
Things are ever flying about,
sheets of paper with drawings on them,
writings, images, self-expressions.
Once off the sketchpad, out of the notebook,
on their own in a windswept world,
singular children, with/without parents
making their way through
rains and cyclones. Some to be
caught up, raised up, glorified,
others blowing on out to sea…
The artist chooses to let them go:
que sera sera to make their mark—
or not quite yet.
Some turn inside out, upended
like umbrellas, roundabout now
and homeward bound.
The artist chooses to receive them
gladly and wonder, what does this particular
one need? Spin them into new
sheets of paper with drawings on them,
writings, images, self-expressions,
all to be caught by the winds again soon.
Anne Brink, Minneapolis MN
In cold rain azaleas offer nectar and pollen
but no pollinators arrive,
Bees huddle close in swarm
vibrating muscles to stay warm.
Gardeners shiver, golfers gripe,
annual flowers fail to set seed,
but wet or cold, azaleas curve our smiles.
Wild black cherry is here in bloom.
Flowers rich with pollen entice
bees and beetles and flies to work
the flower crowd from tree to tree.
On each young leaf stem swell
nectaries to give sweets to ants
to defend the leaves from
spring’s caterpillar tents.
Bees, flower beetles, flower flies
and ubiquitous ants work to grow cherry
trees, have since North America was young.
Note: Cherry tree nectaries dry up when the leaves are fully matured
and tent caterpillar horde has been eaten & dispersed. Ants move on.
In spring, Rue Anemone rises through leaves
to flower low and offer early pollen to bees.
Several ovaries each grow in a green acheme
one seed, attractive to ants
with its treat-for-larvae elaiosome,
and carried off to the nest, each seed
may begin a new colony of spring flowers
far from its parent plant
that likes to spread by rhizomes too.
After seeding, it wilts back to root
to wait for spring to beguile insects again.
Oriole males finally accept
other males at the feeder.
Most are mated now,
no need to compete,
but the youth still spreads his tail,
His elders inhale plum jelly
to take to nestlings.
To everything a season.
First things first.
Old Reliable, the tooth of the lion
gathers pollinators galore,
now a patterned flower fly,
now a bumblebee encore.
The lowly lovely-flowered dandelion
is the ubersource of pollen, nectar,
and for some two-leg wingless, wine.
What could this gold-white lovely be?
Could her name be Mystery?
On translucent filaments,
her anthers bob clustered pollen gold,
below ride five petal stars pure white
multiplied a hundred times.
From the center of older stars
globular stigmas thrust toward completion.
All this cries out Romance,
but Alas, Nannyberry is her name.
Sad Note: Both her flower and fruit are said
to smell like a female goat, a nanny
A male oriole, young,
head still not fully black,
takes a fetching pose.
Does he meditate?
On his beak linger bits
of jelly, plum, deep red.
Perhaps he bows in thanks
that he got jelly and away
this time, without elder males
pecking at his winsome head.
The sun catches Virginia Waterleaf
as she shines her way out of shadow
for this is the moment she owns.
Twenty bells offer sweets and pollen
to fliers, and blushing color to our eyes.
Does it blush red or is it slightly blue? Yes.
She accepts every hue sunlight offers
on the day she opens out from shadow.
After rainy days and nights mushrooms
spring up from the dark
gilled and tenuous. Below them
a fat and happy slug eases from its feast.
Its toothed radula has wreaked havoc,
there a great notch out of a head,
down low a stem smooth cut but left undone.
None were left to be, all were tasted, loved.
The animal again proclaims dominance over all
that lifts from soil, and shares its roly-poly joy.
6.21.2013 INVITE to WRITE #56 and RESPONSES to INVITE #55
The photo for INVITE #56 is a representation of an owl that was etched into a overhang in Chauvet Cave about thirty-three thousand years ago. Many paintings were found in this cave of horses, rhinocerous and cave bears, but this horned owl is the only bird, and the only non-painting. Was this an impulsive choice by a non-painter? A young rebel? It was created in the darkness far into a cave. A stone-age person had to stand on a ladder of some sort to reach this overhang. Did he or she hold a torch? Did a helper hold it? Was the owl a totem animal for the artist? For his clan? Why are the eyes so indistinct? What tool was used to carve into the stone so energetically? Let this picture journey you deep into time. Can you conceive of the owl being created some 30,000 years before the Pyramids? Contemplate the photo and see where it takes a piece of writing, poem or very brief prose, (Yes! Prose!) however the spirit moves you.
Email your writing to email@example.com by Wed. July 10. All work sent will be published Friday July 12. Because of the July 4 holiday, you have an extra week (a total of three) to work on this spur to your imagination. I will endeavor to remind you. Remember that this INVITE is a sharing across community, not a competition.
It must be summer, warm and muggy in North America. There were only two Responses to the Brocolli Tree House, both charming. Scroll down for yet another response to Girl in Storm, this one fresh from Zimbabwe.
Musings on Broccoli Tree House
Tho' Not the dream of every lad
This whimsey house does make me glad.
To think of days spent floret-High
Above the scudding cabbage sky.
Not only well-built, Balsa Strong,
But air-conditioned all day long.
And if you're really needing food
You're just a grab from something good.
I think I'd like to spend the night,
To watch the garden bugs alight,
But not too far away from Home,
Where I can find an ice-cream cone.
~~Frank Hawthorne, Minnesota
ODE TO BROCK DAVIS
Some tout broccoli as
Nature's perfect food--
I agree it should be first--
First down the Disposall.
It is the go-to weapon
Of mothers and housewives
To discipline or punish
And maintain control of
Children and their dads.
Davis has done the world
A great and lasting service.
Exercising patient skills,
He has at last unearthed
Broccoli's highest use.
Yes, it's architectural--
Combining arrangement of
The landscape and building of
An arboreal home, both
Deftly balanced on a tiny base.
A home ideal for families,
Especially ones quite small,
In case the father happens
To find he needs to say:
"Honey, I've Shrunk the Kids!"
~~David Brink, Minnesota
Words cast to the wind
words against the futility of man
words on the wind
freely telling stories
words, and stories,
are all that we are
never mind the wind
never mind mankind
listen to the words
~~Tony Reeler, Zimbabwe, Africa
As we land creatures attempt to re-grow gills
within incessant rain, fungi revel in fruiting.
A coral fungus sallies toward gray sky with the élan
of King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein castle.
A host of crenellated turrets lift toward fruition,
their height enabling breeze to waft spores
toward other rotting logs to speed return to soil.
The repetition of this turret form, each rich
with battlements, is a playground to release
the boy within man, the girl in woman.
What tiny figures of the mind stroll these coral turrets,
showing bright colors to the ivory surround?
Yellow spatterdock uncurls its flower
beside a rotting lily pad, the soft flesh
between ribs eaten from below by snails.
Where decay has opened narrow bays
a new leaf rises to unfold and gather sunlight
for the thick root sunk in depths.
As it has forever or near enough,
Spatterdock eats photons from the sun
it mimics in its petals. Damselfly and dragon
nymphs haul out on lily pads to discover wings.
When a pad grows old, pond snails feast
from underneath, as all about, new flower buds
like incised planets push long green fuses
toward the fire that seeds may catch.
Circles, Life and Death, Yang and Yin: Everybody Eats!
A male flower spider navigates the tip
of a furled iris bud about to unfold,
his pedipalps stalked like crayfish eyes.
He uses them to transfer sperm.
I wonder if his eyes see deep ocean blue.
Note: Male flower spiders are much smaller than females.
A water nymph climbed from the lake last night,
hunched its back to split its skeleton
and pulled its transformed body into night,
where it learned to breathe a flier’s air.
As its new body grew hard and strong
it pumped fluid into four sudden wings
that unfolded and unrolled limber-stiff
until they began to vibrate with the dawn.
Flight muscles warmed, the new dragonfly
took to sky, knowing already everything
it would ever need to know.
Tiny fairy mushrooms
raise their pleated parasols
above their mother log, still
create a moment of illusion
borne of childhood dreams.
In the when of small, little wonders
lift us from our daily lives.
Note: the little Earth-wide Mycena mushrooms have graced children’s fantasies since humans first arrived.
Goose and gander both go
to protect gold goslings from
To coil this strike shape
Is not their fierce caring
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