The spider is paralyzed by her sting,
legs curled up to make an awkward ball
while this solitary wasp drags her prey
through low green toward the hole
she has dug for nursery where the spider
will live on while the wasp egg on it hatches
and slowly eats the spider to grow.
The wasp tries to fly with spider in tow,
but can’t. So she pulls the spider through
stubborn stems, spider legs catching.
After five feet of this, she lets go, flies off.
Her eyes were bigger than her stomach
or shall we say, her larva’s stomach today.
A tiny flower-fly sips nectar from daisy fleabane.
Such patterns here: of the flowers, circles
within circles, the spiral rays of fleabane buds,
the hourglass of the fly’s abdomen, gold
and black, the yellow edge of thorax and eye,
the wings’ caught spectrum—these all raise
questions I cannot fathom.
I‘m left with love and mystery, which is just right.
Wild Sweet William lifts flowers
scant inches off the Mother soil.
Each bloom is made of circles,
like many flowers, but differently.
The outer petals are serrated,
edged, the wondrous inner circle
more gently toothed as if
painted on wet paper.
Shall I let this small Dianthus
lesson me about life’s cycles?
Mother always has had teeth,
and the wit at need to bite,
pretty though they often be.
One would need a Dutch
flower painter to shade
the values of these petal tips.
The waterlily bud opens like
a kit or cub or pup
or your own soft child.
So much yet to be revealed
as the fledgling dawns.
The center is eager.
All these cream petals curve
round the golden treasure
they will lie down to surround.
And like kit or cub or pup
or the hair of your own soft child
the essence smells so good.
Invite to Write #24 & Responses to Invite #23
Flowing water centers many lives right now.
Water is a pilgrim that always finds a way. It falls in torrents from the sky, loves the gravity that pulls it down and home to Ocean, loves the sun that makes every tree a fountain to the sky, loves the glacier for the sleep. Loves most of all the exultation of flow, gift of gravity and rain and snow. Contemplate this photo of a stream in rapid flow, let it seize your imagination and see where it takes your writing.
Entries due on Wednesday, August 24 will be published Friday, August 26.
Email to email@example.com. Please, no attachments.
Responses to Invite #23
Fine imaginations carries mystery into delight over and over. Thank you.
Readers, Let these pieces carry you off too.
NEW: If you wish to let a writer know how you responded to a poem, email to Morning Earth and I will pass it on.
On a Pewter Tray
A copper leaf with cord-laced border.
Jade beads scattered, and diamonds
in flashes of gleam, all pretty
on a pewter tray.
All left when the crafter forgot
to put away her project.
A nearby circle gleams,
a brooch formed by the artist's hand.
This is what I see, until my mind recalls,
that I'm looking at a watery surface.
Now I notice shadows,
and I wonder what hovers,
and I wonder what's below.
~~ Mary S. McConnell
Aquatic Beetle with Duckweed, as Evaluated by Antiques Roadshow
This is a stunning broach. I must admit
I've never seen another like it.
Note the large scarab - sculpted from a rare variety of amber,
formed in Neolithic times. See all these dark, mysterious inclusions.
The setting is magnificent - black filigree, so fine,
accented here, and here, with polished moonstones.
And then we have the contrast of these bright moss agates -
what a touch of genius! You can see
the jeweler used as many as he could,
almost an excess of exuberance.
How, may I ask, did you acquire this treasure?
I had to sacrifice a day of work.
I had to walk around a pond,
muddy my shoes,
forget the news,
close my mouth,
open my eyes,
remember how to see.
I expect, sir, you would like to know
the value of your lazy-day discovery.
I have consulted with several experts,
and we have concluded . . .
I have consulted with myself
and my conclusion is: Priceless.
~~ Sara DeLuca, Georgia
Early one morn, the green army gathers at water's edge to honor an old fallen friend,
A withered, brown friend that moored at the edge of the cool water to drink one last time,
Before the diligent duckweed at bow and stern guide their friend off to sea… to be free.
How wonderful it is to have friends.
~~Nancy Webster, Vermont
And So It Goes
The bronze leaf wants to eat the gooseberries.
It sidles up, leathered and waterlogged, jealous
of their willow-apple calm. They look
delicious, dangling from curved onyx chains,
waiting to be nibbled by duck-bills. Ducks have
the necks to dip gracefully. Creatures have
all the luck. It's your fate to sink, the trefoils tell
the leaf, and ours to float. Go to the bottom
of the pond. You are trapped by the parentheses
of night. They will corral you to the underworld,
where you will make a stygian mush for our mesh
to grow another year. Go first, before the other
oak leaves fall. Charon rows into the corner, silent
as a catfish—in his flatboat—lifts the leaf. His oar
dribbles ink-like half-moons on the surface.
He wraps one heavy pebble in the leaf, drops it
over the side. The gooseberries lie still.
~~Denise duMaurier, Washington State
QUEEN BEE'S KNEE BEADS
Let me get out my little eyepiece here.
Ah, yes, now those green specks have something to tell us.
And that ancient copper broach,
shaped like a beetle, camouflaged as a leaf!
See those rhinestones how they flash
and the shadow arcs they cast?
New age jewelry for the queen of spiders,
you guess? Close but no cigarette.
Green glassy eggs all clustered?
Wrong again. We’ve been told
“The green is duckweed.” Oh, right!
Have you never seen the kaleidoscope of
a baby frog prince? Broken?
Once I had to fix it.
Bubbles! I exclaimed.
But this is not that.
Nor this, that or the other thing.
Wizards like me wear our words lightly,
wear out our welcome as soon as possible
and crawl back to Beginagain
where all your questions are flashes in the pan.
(Since I can't make the answer upside down
I put it in the title.)
~~ Pegatha Hughes, California
Jewels, gray and profound
surround emerald orbs
of blossoming DNA. Here
I have found my reason for
sailing on ponds, my compass mark,
my wind in sails, the effort it takes
to get me there. Oh, stars which blaze
with the silence
of death, take me where I belong,
past moonbeams and reflections,
into the core of woman, where
I first felt my mother's hand.
~~ Judy Mosby, Virginia
Nature’s necklace of jewels....
Amber and peridot....
With fine lace surrounding the settings.
Our lives reflect this--
Some days brilliant
Some days somber, but
All held in the fine design
Of our existence
Sarah Zucarrelli, New Hampshire
The stars fell, ubiquitous, on that glittering night.
A wonder all around the world
Unheralded, unrecorded and soon forgotten
At the pond and at myriad other ponds
Forms slipped silently under the black water
The caretakers, and their begotten
The quiet water welcomed them
They swam like fish, but with no ripple
In time the girl knew every reed and mossy rock.
The clear green world filled with creatures
Was her glad domain
Still, her fascination was with the children
A riotous band
Who came to wade and swim in summer
Inheritors from the many generations
Who had lived the land
She laughed with them but they did not hear her
Watched them grow until they liked "a real pool better’"
But the third son was her favorite
Her Mother told her once he was "her age"
He was so brave
When tormented by his brothers
And often came alone on summer days
His fishing pole dangling at his side
And always he glanced first into the water.
Once she hear him whisper softly,
"I wish....." and he sighed.
"It is his reflection he seeks," her Mother said
"We do not have reflections, you and I"
But she never answered "Why?"
She measured time by how "Same Age" was growing
Knew seasons passed by frost and snow and rain.
He towered now, far taller than his brothers
Had she grown tall like he, or was she still the same?
She thought to make her own reflection
Worked gathering material through the night.
A brown leaf for her face,
And for hair
The small curls of the funny dog
That wandered by to swim in dark
A piece of driftwood sufficed for arm
Arranged on tiny leaves of duckweed for a dress
When finished she arched up to view, balanced
Then fell back without a splash
Pleased at her success.
Just as the sun rose she heard his whistling
Saw bright hair stirring in the wind
He came close , stopped short at water’s edge
Saw the strange image—bent closer
She felt her crinkled leaf-face
Smooth into warm brown cheeks,
Felt black curls grow rapidly
Felt her driftwood arm grow
With hesitant belief he reached his fingers down
As she reached up small hand
So white and soft and warm
He drew her up into the sun and light
Shimmering in the dress of green
Looked down into her eyes with shocked delight
And knew at last the subject of his dreams.
~~ Peggy Osborne, Montana
slender, swirled liquid
bind one living shape
describe the mystery of
in a fantasy of light.
We may have seen
years ago, tripping
on holy LSD,
through the soulful
microscope of dreams.
~~ Maggie Gallivan, British Columbia
Anatomy of a Memory
Reminiscing on a daydream,
caught in the space of a place
with a trace of
a see through blue hue,
a feeling, a sense,
an aroma of awareness
in a dark room -
as a musical
score is to
~~ Bruce Peck, Minnesota
ON THE SURFACE
Complex lives blind
and sun glare has us concealed
behind dark lenses.
A small moment allows
this squint beyond brilliant surface
to perceive questions that need to be asked.
What’s the wisdom in duckweed
afloat on a holiday lake
in the middle of summer?
Laugh! But see how the water surface
is dimpled, its tension patterned
with circles that embrace miniature leaves.
Look further. Sunlight is subsumed
into one leaf that becomes two and four and eight,
leaves that come into being
faster than a hair colour commercial reaches
all the friends you can tell, and so on and so on;
an iteration in which the square root
of quantity changes faster than
Frost. Ducks. Falling water table.
Constraints are external .
Truth: There is no life without weight
and the urge to colonize.
Illiteracy. Starvation. War.
And we dream of living in space…
Sorry! All that on a sunny afternoon
with the kids diving from the dock and screaming
while you were enjoying your iced tea
or more serious libations.
~~ Jenny Wolpert, British Columbia
A tiger swallowtail girl pulls nectar from
the floral tubes of wild bergamot.
Above her black faceted eyes,
her antenna tips sweep back with style.
She is fresh from chrysalis, colors rich
in an optical texture of dense fur.
Body and wing she is so wholly complete,
a being so in harmony with her surround
that I delight to take part in her existence
for all my kind’s disharmony.
A perfect blue dasher dragonfly
perches atop a lily pad stem
that made it out of the water
but failed to round into a leaf.
Tiny flowers of Culver’s Root
open on a tall green stem.
They are plain white until
you kneel and get close
where auburn pollen
dances on white threads.
Just up the stem, anthers
push their heads out of
their white birth tunnel,
opening the fringed petals.
A tiny nymph of katydid
seeks the protein of pollen
gold waiting on the tip
of daylily filaments easily
strong enough to support
a hungry child of green.
He could be thinking,
could he think,
“I’ve struck gold!
as much as I can hold,
I’m going to grow!”
Who makes me think,
for I can, and smile, this moment
is perfect as his intent green
against daylily red and gold.
Eyes of emerald
turn predator to elf
perched on a leaf
I make faces,
you make faces
out of eyes, even if
sans nose, sans teeth,
that’s all we see.
We people our Earths
with Others who are
honorary elves who may
see us as them we see
so all become we.
Where the flood had been,
tiger swallowtail females
cluster to probe sand for
minerals they need.
As they flutter off and light again
their kaleidoscope turns
lit now by gracious morning sun
that loves velvet pinstriped bodies.
Note: This behavior is called puddling.
My books and the web say males do it.
These lovely ladies must be illiterate.
Every morning, sure
as the whine of highways,
there’s the heron, breaking
his fast with minnows.
Faithful to our habits
are we all, especially those
that sustain. We show up.
So we get wet, so
most times we plunge
we miss, but we do dry,
and just enough times
we feel that lovely minnow
sliding down our throats,
moving as a fingertip
musing on silk.
The flame skimmer
staggers my being
just resting on a stick
in a shaft of bright.
His wings, the concave
etching of front edges
yellow on orange/red.
A dragon surely, fiery
as any storied beast,
his own glorious hoard.
Note: Photo at Darwin Falls trail, Death Valley, CA.
White Ibis parents present
their impressive juvenile child,
who dwarfs mom and pop
and possibly may know it.
Other two-legs find this blessing.
Being dwarfed by offspring may
kindle parental pride, but may
cause research in family trees
to fix the blame, or may simply
cause episodes of trembling.
Halloween Pennants join the wheel
all life rolls into time unknown.
Connection and exchange of essence,
wherever we happen to be: here
an aluminum boat railing, creating
blessed color in their striving.
Dragonflies show us again the curves
and hope of the heart like a wheel.
The cedar waxwing’s plumage
is pure, smooth, untouched by toil,
the Cary Grant of perching birds,
casual elegance but without
that air of slight surprise, for
from robber’s mask to yellow
tail tip, waxwing shows
a confidence complete, knows
that all berries properly belong
inside his gleaming beak.
Cardinal flowers bless
the August St Croix river
still in flood after months.
Some tributaries still flow
backwards, like the Right Wing:
Mad Hatter and March Hare
toss back imaginary tea,
harkening to a past that never was.
So keep your eyes on the cardinal blessing.
Patience. Hummingbirds will come.
A breeze called Caprice plays
with snowy egret’s crest
just after break of dawn,
but the whimsy of the breeze
does not at all amuse the egret
for she is a carnivore just awake
who has not yet plucked
breakfast from the sea.
Note: Photo from Baja Sur, Mexico
The little spider’s orb web
bright with spheres of dew
hangs lit from behind just after
pink dawn has burned off into blue.
At first light a red meadow hawk
tried to fly through jewels.
Still alive, wing-caught,
he can only tremble beads of light.
INVITE TO WRITE #25 & RESPONSE to #24
This is a mystery image. The goal is not to discover what it is, but rather to let the photo stimulate your imagination toward what it could be, or could once have been, or may someday be. For this writing, stretch your sense of what could be, a broken sphere of any size from a planet to a child’s toy (or both?).
Entries are due Wed, Sept 7, and will be published Friday, Sept. 9. No attachments, please.
Response to Invite #24 flowed from many writers with a wonderful range. Enjoy.
TIME AND THE STREAM
Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. - Henry David Thoreau
Say that you've been fishing in this stream for eighty years.
Say you've hauled up weeds and boots and broken bottles
and some muddy bottom-feeders
that you didn't have the sense to throw back in.
Say you've snagged some winners now and then,
bright as rainbows, sweet to taste.
But say that you are tired now,
content to stand and watch
with water rushing past your ankles,
slippery milestones beneath your feet.
Say that you imagine you could fall
and float away from all those eager fishers on the bank
who bait their hooks and cast their lines
~~Sara De Luca, Georgia
we lay, water trickling over stones,
our bones bearing who we were
with love, so new, around,
and there we found all former forms
of kissing games and sweet desire
and there we laid our troubles down.
~~Grandma Mosby, Virginia
Waiting by Water
Like the French Lieutenant’s Woman
who made her way to the farthest point
before turning around.
Like us on that solstice sunset
when we walked the river bridge
all the way across and back, delicious
orange sun inside us—wide awake.
Water thundered over the dam,
shook the bridge.
Dancers below us in the park
swayed to music from speakers.
Dancers above us waved from roofs
of converted mills.
A man with a sign passed us:
Pagans turn to Jesus
How Jesus of the light
would have loved I thought this night
as children on bicycles swerved
around the hapless preacher.
You surprised me with a necklace
for our son's wedding.
There are nights that shimmer
in perfect balance like gems
in settings asymmetrical
where river plunges
into the heart of stone,
where its roar shakes
the earth and us.
Those nights wait for us
in plain air on a bridge
over water that never waits.
~~Mary Kay Rummel, Minnesota
The water streams around me.
The ice may melt
add to the streaming.
Many may flow past me
And here I stay.
To leave I would have to break
At some point.
To leave I would need a helping
I prefer to stay where I am.
Part of what you may call
Nature or beauty
I simply call my being part
of what is.
It does not matter the purpose
I am not a human hence
I know where I belong
What I am part of.
~~Ron Palmer, Minnesota
Splat – one droplet alone
Split splat – a quiet duo not yet a note
Minutes later a small combo begins
Soft rhythmic patter in the bass section
Dust rises like smoke in a 50s bar
Floating in the air for a time brief
I smile – my ears hear music
Minutes combine & the rivulets trickle down my road silently
Choosing a path between my drive and Peggy’s
Descending into a tiny, unnamed creek
And the song begins
I hear the bubble tune and I smile
The ensemble now is a youth orchestra
There, all of earth’s creations tiptoe up and kneel in homage
Reaching for the life giving moisture. The deer tip their heads, the heron his
beak and the plants stretch their roots toward the source….
A small boy with wet feet cups his hands
The thirst quenching crystal drops spreading across his chin as he drinks
And I smile watching
The creek gathers speed as the orchestra jostles
Baton tapping continues lightly on the rock podiums
Now it has volume and a crescendo as the Choir joins
The rhythm orchestra ascending
Fresh voices singing loudly to the Water Philharmonic Symphony
Praising the clear life giving soul water
I can’t hear your voice now – but I smile back laughing with the water.
Elk Creek harmonizes as she splashes headlong with abandon
Into the Clark Fork, into Lake Pend Oreille, into the mighty Columbia
And then journeys out to sea….
And I smile in gratitude….
Never tiring to the sound of Earth’s Water Song
~~Kathleen Huntley, Montana
A River Runs Through Me
Fast and cold, tripping over sticks
and twigs that divert my attention
first here and then there.
Down slippery rocks so fast
it takes my breath away and
still I move forward.
Rest, a small eddy of deep
stillness while I ponder my
I cannot go back upstream,
I can only learn, gathering
data and energy for the
next quick run and fall and
run and divert.
Resistance is futile and
therein lies my lesson
and my joy.
~~Linda Leary, Colorado
From her warm cot
In the tattered coveralls in which she slept
The child peeks out the tent's unfastened flap
Creeps out of cold-dewed canvas
As the dawn breaks over Cherry Creek
Adults lie intent
Upon their sleeping, troubled sleep
Dreading the hunger that comes with sentience
She runs down the rough dirt road
To the bottom of the draw
Where, half-embedded in the mountain's side
A weathered box
Is almost hidden by the rocks
Carefully her small hand grasps the rope
Of the crafted timber lid
To peer into the first weak flash of sun
On the clearness of the spring
Deep down every grain of sand is visible
Dented tin cup on a chain falls and clanks
The girl is motionless
Waiting for any waking sound
That would shatter perfection
She lifts the frigid water to her mouth in cupped hand
Each time careful not to spill
Closes the top and fleet as goats
In the rising of the sun,
runs back to her bed.
~~Peggy Osborne, Montana
Do you remember
Sitting on the riverbed
Watching the water swerve around the rocks
Hearing the sound of the smooth current
Talking about nothing in particular
Next to that life-giving gift?
Do you remember
Floating through the current
Watching endless wonders reflecting on the trees
Hearing the soft rustle of grass
Talking about the sweet flow of life
Next to that soul-filling place?
Do you remember
Treading in the sky
Watching the river go by
Hearing voiceless singings
Talking with the wonders
That never seem to stop?
~~Kieran Anthony, Minnesota
After a great whirring jump
a grasshopper stretches out
his hind legs, strong femur
where the leap is stored,
tibia red and long, lifted
in air for the best stretch.
Had he voice, he might softly
groan with pain and pleasure
like any world-class jumper or
someone working out, say,
like your very own self.
After the flood here
rest the bones of a fish
that did not splash
back into the calmed river
with the water it breathed.
Furred and feathered
have plucked away meat,
microbes melted the rest
into lucky soil that sprouts
green lively with this fish.
Sun and shadow play with my eyes
as I gaze at the chalk-front corporal
dragon at rest on a weathered beam.
How soft the powder blue of corporal stripes.
fine as the blueberry’s bloom, the grape.
How precise this wedding of wing to wood,
the net of vein and cell printed as shadow,
even to the curious shadow of amber.
And what is color doing in a shadow?
Is amber playing with my eyes?
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