She just pulled her new body
from the larval husk,
this pretty widow skimmer.
At first I’m seeing only
gold on black beauty
perched on poison ivy.
Late I see the unfilled wing
still sadly crumpled.
Did she fly too soon?
Is she maimed?
Or is the wing pumping full
even as her image on a sensor
freezes her and holds her still?
A whirl of jewelwings as
he reveals brilliance
to the riverside.
Green arch of leaf
at apogee is blessed
by this damselfly in display.
This living pinwheel
expects at any moment a mate
drawn by his fluorescent green
to make with him the wheel
that again begins but does not end.
A woodland sunflower
begins to unwrap
the gift of itself
A small flower spider
defends its hunting turf,
lifts its front legs to attack this
Gulliver who over him leans.
The spider does not know
fear, does not know brave,
or size, knows no future,
only now eternal.
For gigantic Gulliver
to admire the spider’s defense
makes no sense, but there it is.
7.8.2011 INVITE to WRITE #22 and Responses to INVITE #21
Mountains engender many responses, ranging from fear to the sublime.
Pictured are outliers of Mt. Ranier, from foothills to glaciated peaks.
Contemplate these blue mountains and see where they take your writing.
Entries are due Wed, July 20, and will be published July 22. Email to:
INVITE #21 leafdeath
You wrote beautifully from the leaf-death mystery, as you will see below.
Thank you for the sharing.
A fallen aspen leaf,
dull green, drying, fading, dying,
contains a gasp of brilliant chlorophyll,
a finely painted leaf within a leaf.
My friend declares it a celestial sign,
a miracle, dropped intentionally
as proof of Everlasting Life.
I say the Great Creator is too busy
to monitor our daily walks
and toss this symbol of redemption.
Lately He's been whipping wind and water,
unleashing floods in Minot,
tornadoes in Joplin,
tsunamis in Japan.
I say that if you praise the Lord for beauty
you must also hold him liable
for this ungodly destruction.
The subject changes now
to Little League, the tournament
her son's team wants to win.
She'll pray for that.
Oh, God, I say. Orchestrating all those victories
and defeats must be a supernatural headache.
Think of picking all the winners and losers
on this planet, T-ball to World Series.
And that's just baseball.
Think about the global game of Famine and Plenty.
Think about the wars.
So many contests on this spinning ball called Earth,
not to mention the cosmos. I'm pretty sure
the Almighty has not been on our trail
playing with aspen leaves.
My friend is saddened by my lack of faith
but she will pray for my salvation.
I will look for another walking partner.
Or not. Maybe I will go alone
and learn to relish nature's random gifts
in blessed silence.
~~Sara DeLuca, Georgia
A LITTLE NIGHT MISCHIEF
Aspens have Elves—
the way Shoemakers do.
Without a sound, without
a lamp or snicker—
in night's blackest hours—
Aspen Elves work miracles.
They dip the softest moss
into the loudest green—
and paint a maple shape,
that set its imprint on
an aspen’s leaf, all winter.
Two treats for the price
of one, when the aspen
awakes, on a June morn.
~~Denise DuMaurier, Washington State
A Mothers' sixth sense of doom
and vigorous attempt to sustain the life
of its' progeny before the tolling bell
An attempt to thwart nature's rule without
the experience of continued life.
Destined to the dustbin to feed life's
onward march and go grow again
some day to expand nature's realm
in the same or altered form
Nature's resiliency rules to charm
those who follow. Someday all will
marvel at the efficiency.
~~Marsh Syverson, California
My edges wilt and go brittle
readying for return to essence,
soil and rock and sustenance
for others not yet birthed.
But dismiss me not too soon for my soul
burns brightly with wisdom not yet dimmed.
My heart runs green with juices not yet
tapped, waiting for young ears to listen,
bright eyes to see. For I am worth nothing
if what I have learned is not shared.
So I wait – for you to notice my remaining
glimmer. Shining just for you, your
notice, your sweet appreciation.
One last time, I burn brightly with all I
have. Just for you.
~~Linda Leary, Colorado
He found it there, upon the rock
The oak tree's imprimatur
Reined tight his horse,
Fist still locked
To give thought to the matter
Strange it was, and stranger still
That he should thus encounter
The very sight that he had willed:
Excuse for endless bounty
Robin he was, the one of giving
He robbed the rich to feed the poor
Ending lives to feed the living, yet
Surly conscience knocked at his door
Those he robbed were rich and thrifty
Plotting fortunes for their heirs
And those he gave to were oft' shifty
Spending their earnings at the fairs
He wanted to be good you know
Sought heaven's blessing night and day
Occasionally he thought the foe
paid much for virtue as they lay
Dead upon the ground and speechless.
A sign he needed, something speaking
That the road ahead was blest ,
Was the right way he'd been seeking
So this errant imprint leaf-of- oak
Unnatural and unprovoked
Was sure sign God evoked
That right was his, as he had hoped.
~~Peggy Osborne, Montana
ODE TO A LEAF
And whereupon your journey did you end?
And were you caught up in a great surprise?
A birthmark symbolizing heritage
or the death knell of an early demise?
Ah, in truth both and neither was your fate
Your tree of life was a perennial
While in your residence among its boughs
You were, dear leaf, a simple annual.
The season of your life was measured brief
With passion and intention all aboil
Unfurled radiant and beautiful
You soul will now re-enter forest soil.
To reincarnate as another tree
Or flower, shrub, or other wondrous sight
Your life now honored as a testament
Your bright green badge, your birthmark, your birthright.
~~Bruce Peck, Minnesota
Mysterious green says --
death's a thief,
breathes green breath
into dead aspen leaf.
As counter to such crime,
I'll become an oak this time.
~~Maggie Gallivan, British Columbia
A CELESTIAL MISHAP
It was just the second day of school for the Cherubs and they were still getting accustomed to having wings and walking awkwardly on the uneven surface of the clouds, so squishy they were. Typically for their age, the Cherubs were all squirms & curiosity and the morning had been too long with lessons. The little pudgies were all relieved when the Blessed Friar Angelico arrived with a tray of paints for a little fun.
Little Tommy didn’t mean to bump Kitty Lou with his wings when he sneezed. He forgot about them and it was an innocent mishap. She fell into Charlie who didn’t mean to overreact by jumping up suddenly thus knocking Kitty Lou’s foot though the cloud. This of course all startled tiny shy Andy who was still feeling awkward, and he reacted by throwing out his chubby hand to catch himself, knocking over the green paint jar on the front of the tray. In rhythmic synchrony all Cherub heads peered down into the new opening as the bright yellow green spiraled up then through the cloud pinhole and sailed down to earth twisting & turning as it fell.
Pairs of wide Cherub eyes overlooked the fluff bluff as the paint landed smack dab on a dark aspen leaf---The impact cause the leaf to fall---The ears of earth registered a slight stir in the air as high up in heavenly clouds there were gales of laughter and ohhs and ahhs from the Cherubim class looking down now at the resulting unusual leaf color.
Blessed Friar Angelico was hard pressed to keep a straight face.
~~Kathleen Huntley, Montana
ASKING THE WHY
It’s not quite like being bald
or reaching an age of pleasure
without the possibility of complications. No
this leaf, though flushed with green
has more in common
with bloated bellies on stick legs
than with emotional transitions
of adult to liberated elder.
Necrosis has fringed the leaf darker than olive
turned crisp to dry crust.
Is it a potassium starved soil
that has halted the chloroplast trade
ion by ion, the shifting of sun and carbon and water?
Or a genetic misstep that cleaves leaf stem
We exult in greening, in first steps,
in the myth that the garden is free
of all but the most innocent of snakes,
but gardeners nurse the earth,
care enough to ask the why.
~~Jenny Wolpert, British Columbia
Fallen aspen leaf,
Not merely dead, but dreaming
A next life, oak-like, green.
~~Maggie Gallivan, British Columbia
Little green heart of aspen leaf,
poked by fingers of death from the outside in,
your oak-leaf design plays tag with child-mind.
You are a flag from the nation of Life
set free by the wind and caught by chance
by Caddy, by gum.
~~Pegatha Hughes, California
Sated with nectar of flowers
a silver spotted skipper spreads
wings on a green leaf.
Thorax furry as a child’s bear
makes me want to touch,
just a gentle fingertip, and touch too
the orange and silver spots
to see if they are warm
where they fill with solar glow.
Shocked by beauty
my eyes go hot.
You know, the
I can almost hear
the early music
and the fountain’s swell.
Opening in light shade
lets the wild blue flag
capture form and color
in depth rarely seen.
The lips of the falls have
begun to curl even since
Fine stripes of nectar guides
and a wide gold landing show
bumble bees where to feed
and leave pollen where
the iris flower insists.
Even in light shade
a flower must dry and fade
for seed to be made.
A dragon fresh from second birth
rests new wings on fresh grass seeds
ready to be pulled to soil’s embrace
and sprout, rekindle the green fire.
The vital demand is to resurge, to find
a way to capture solar fire by skin or mouth
and with an other, pass the fire on.
Births and rebirths everywhere!
Each long summer day, the little
meadowhawk about to burn ruby
adult red, while grass seed threads
white rootlings down to dark and thin
green blades thrust up toward bright.
Without the glow of monarch wings
as they bend a flower down
against a sky of afternoon
my spirit would be less.
Soon, when our poisons hold full sway
and BT has starved larval butterflies,
our children’s spirits will be less
and they won’t know that or why.
How a waver,
how a ripple in the stream
of our reality seen
changes who we seem to be
in the mirrors of the self.
Does the mirror lie?
Does the self cohere,
Or do the ripples stretch it ever wide
until the “I” cannot be seen,
just a smear of colors in the stream?
Chalices of salsify seedheads
fill with sun to reveal
how feathered filaments
converge at base, each
calyx centered on a seed
ready for a breeze to fill
its bright chalice
and pull the future free.
A robberfly scintillates on a leaf,
its spiked legs and bristled face
combine to fill with threat
the lava glow of its sun-struck gut.
A desert mesquite thorn
bright in searing sun
suggests the new reality
of Nature we have made.
The thorn tip is black against blue,
but leaf buds still swell green.
More and more, the Mother
must come armed with thorns.
INVITE to WRITE #23 and Responses to INVITE #22
This is a mystery photo. The setting is the edge of a lake--the gray is water under bright sun. The green is duckweed. The rest is up to your imagination. What all these curved lines and shadows are up to is anybody's guess. Please contemplate the photo and write from where it takes you. I encourage speculation and play.
Your writing is due Wed. August 3rd and will be published August 5th.
Please, please, no attachments!
INVITE #22 generated writing that originates in awe and the realization of our smallness when confronted with the sublime. Great stuff. Thank you.
JUMPING OFF POINT
When is green blue?
When it’s afar.
Why am I you?
We come from the stars.
And, closer to home,
why do giants wear boots?
For crossing sharp mountains
and condors have wings? For aerial feats
and angels harps?
For singing praises
of jumping off places
(…altitude, attitude, summertime gratitude)
Why does our spirit soar mile after mile
through four square inches of blue mountain sky
and land like an eagle on a white snag……….?
~~Pegatha Hughes, California
I had wings, once
the eye of an eagle, once
and saw what the eagle saw.
And when I fell to earth
to feel my hear
forever clinging to a mountain peak.
~~Marcia McEachron, Minnesota
When I die
Scatter my ashes from a place so high
That tiny grains of burnt bones fly
From mountain top into the sky
Let the wind lift my remains
Into astounding clouds’ blue reign
That I may sight a Samarkand
Places rare, exotic, grand
Time and time the earth I'll circle
Ten shades of gold and green and purple
Suffused with air so light and free
Divinty will share breath with me
The joy that my return will witness
Is that of incomparable bliss
Of being one with all that is
~~Peggy Osborne, Montana
Days when nothing happens suit me best.
Colors like grey and brown and bluish-black.
August greens that watercolors just can’t match.
A glimpse of the Cascades, to make sure
they haven’t flattened overnight.
If a bush pilot takes a photographer up,
the waiting bench at the landing strip
will find me reading, when they land.
Well-named: the Cascades. Avalanches
tumble daily, February through May.
Not named for blue filters, although
that greatly adds to their appeal—but for
their favorite activity: burying dare-devil
winter sports enthusiasts deep in the valleys
far below what can be seen in the viewfinder.
Mount Baker, when visible, looks like
a sugar loaf. Rough-hewn, mushroom headed,
iced with snow year round, and farther away
than it seems. Stevens Pass is not for driving
in a driving rain, no matter how that sounds.
Days when the fog lifts—behold Mount Baker,
standing in the background, majestic as a
thawing snowman. Much too tall and lumpy
for a climb—just because it’s there.
~~Denise duMaurier Washington
Echoes of my Mind
Can you hear me, can you hear me,
can you hear me?
The mountains echo back my words
Here I am , here I am , here I am.
I wait, hopeful, for the miracle reply :
I see you, I see you, I see you.
Impartial ears are they and many
are the secrets held of those who
shouted their joys and sorrows
into these dark, still giants.
Yet I find peace there and safety for
though they do not speak to my ears, they
sit softly in my heart where there is
a deeper listening.
It is there, when I am still, that I
hear the voices of a thousand whispers
on the winds through the trees.
Rushing towards me they add their
welcoming echoes to mine and we mingle,
in one moment of eternity.
And I rejoice and answer,
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
~~Linda Leary, Colorado
Mountains call to us to come
hike the trails fragrant with fir
watch the wild rush of spring streams
climb above the timberline where the air is clean and pure
where blue-green alpine lakes mirror sky
Pasayten, Wallowas, Sawtooths
I've hiked those mountains
slept in their wild-flowered meadows
felt the fury of a nighttime thunderstorm
(and the blisters on my heels after a ten mile day)
and I can still remember, after thirty plus years,
the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze
as we lay in the tall grasses at the lake's edge
soaking it all up.
~~Diane Kaufman, Washington State
Standing on this gravelled rise,
my dream is to walk
among thick pines, to watch the life
in that thick growth, to hear
and the humming of creatures winged.
Cooler thoughts say it would be unholy,
for me to put my feet upon that ground,
or my breath within that world,
to disrupt what's circled there
for all the years.
I will stay here on this rocky spot,
~~Mary S. McConnell
Golden Sun Laurel on your peak announces each day
A new beginning
Standing in Mountain Pose I face you strongly
Planting my feet firmly into earth’s surface
I hold my head like yours - proudly reaching for the sky
Your ever-changing robes constantly seek my gaze
Is it Ermine white today, royally covering your shoulders?
Are the Floral bouquets of color cascading down between
The evergreen ribbons?
Your diligent changing majesty captivates my imagination
Autumn Orange, blades of Yellow Tamarack
Days of shrouded blue, topped with mist or dancing clouds
Alluring hearts and bodies to ascend
Home refuge for the endangered ones
Spirit Bears, Symbolic Eagles
Along her sides I can even hear the Elk Song
The bird song
The humming of the wind
I listen carefully alone and my heart soars up her sides
And fills with hope
More than Majestic, breathing growing
At the end of each day sun kissed goodnight
~~Kathleen Huntley, Montana
It’s the same mountain
but so different when you’re breathing hard.
Climbers and hikers fitter
and younger are pulling
away to the alpine meadows.
The further you are from trail’s end
the bluer the rocks and trees shimmer
indifferent to red face, and moisture
that streams over skin and becomes
sticky, entrapped in crevices.
And you don’t want to be
here, dragging at the end of the line behind
sturdy bodies and voices that suck
the air out of your lungs, but it’s the same
high meadows and alpine flowers and butterflies
and primeval boulders frosted
with lichen, and cool rest at the top.
Coming down is hard jar of knees
on trails tricky with pebbles that roll
as stray marbles, and rust
pine needles polished by season’s turn.
Water bottles are empty. The sun
is low, behind foothills that drag
the trail from here to there and back.
And I flop on the bit of green
down where we started this morning
when the sun was a welcome
shimmer on dewed grass.
You can’t see the day’s summit from here
only the end of the day leading
to dreams where you boulder hop
scramble again the last
hundred yards to the peak,
knowing that remembering
is no substitute for the grind up
and the exultant dance on top.
Jenny Wolpert, Hope, British Columbia
Orange antenna tips enchant me,
and large orange eyes,
how could these things be?
A Baltimore checkerspot delves
for minerals in damp sand
while translucent wings gorge
on light and orange and
these bright cells of black and white
and yes, the crescent moons,
all to my eyes delight.
The great blue heron has struck
a minnow pod a dozen times
and finally succeeds.
It may be dawning on the heron that
minnows look larger from above.
Fresh from the lake, new
to the world of air and wing,
a female blue dasher mantles
her wings as if maidenly shy,
but she hunts, hair-trigger nerves
cocked to blur her into flight to
seize a passing fly, then circle
back to perch to chew and swallow,
huge eyes hunting all the while.
Shadows of clustered oak leaves
darken the surface of the beaver pond.
Tall grass seed panicles seize sunfire
and burn in yellow-green candelabras,
while on dark water some small life ripples,
finding the circle once again.
A lopped symmetry allows
this small ruby meadowhawk
to continue to fly even though
hungry swallows have bitten off
halves of two veined dragon wings.
After the first attack, ruby
floundered like a spun top, but
the balancing strike returned
a limited grace. He may hunt low
among tall flowers now, where fly
hordes of sweet insects full of fat.
But he’s a top predator and male,
red as fire’s flag, and will fly high.
He has few more daylight hours.
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