As ice begins to freeze the pond
a beaver swims back and forth
to keep a passage free to gather food ashore.
Much is already stored, branches stuck in mud,
but fresh is always better.
Forth and back, out and back again
echoes in our lives, however we strive.
May the beaver’s wake outwit the freeze.
My backbone is struck by a sinking leaf
caught between ice and rest. It speaks to me,
This leaf, arches its back,
spine curved like a vertebrate.
thin ice holds it now, won’t let that spine relax
until a thaw, maybe tomorrow, more.
Such tension held timeless
in the mirror of a frozen leaf
True metaphor speaks direct.
In the wintry tilt of Earth
when cold sun still shines,
waters of pond and marsh
discover new colors within
their crystal surface new.
What grew and was afloat
juts from a chaos of sky blues
brown leaves green blades pale stems
dusky purples and the stained greens
of algae huddled under freeze,
a fusion of colors and light
softened together even though ice.
A harbor seal offers me a lesson:
half-closed eyes, a muzzle faintly smiling,
whiskers relaxed, flippers loll a lazy curve.
If I can just get the flippers right, I too
could incarnate as a master of contentment.
And maybe teach?
After absorbing Moon all night,
morning ice lifts up to be seen.
Thin, yes, but alive with elder light.
Textured and lined with stories
of its full night within old white,
not the smooth of ice newborn.
Below morning ice,
in dark waters
cold shapes await white form.
A cardinal confronts new snow
beneath the feeder,
a strangeness new
as life—he’s three months old.
Snow is new today too,
the season’s first, fell just
below the freeze point so
it’s sticky—good to throw
and roll into men, but redbird’s
instinct fears not snow, he
lives in now, not no,
as natural beings do who
live close to where they grew.
Sixteen inches of soft snow builds all day
along each barked branch and twig
while small birds flit about for perches
in this sudden shift of worlds, leaving
U-shaped holes along snow-coat branches
where feathered breasts holding tiny
hearts beat hot against the snow.
Thin leaves arch and vanish into ice,
fine hoops caught both ends,
root and leaf tip, locked cold.
Arches lift up, emerge, curve down.
One true form. Another:
the straight-line crack that
angles its scar across the ice.
Crackle ice was best, the kind that lifts ice inches into air
and makes a space below for sound to grow
with every crunch and snap below my feet,
pure pleasure of sound in crisp and crackly sunny day.
It formed where curb met street, where melt
would run by day and lift to crackle ice by night.
That lovely morning sound when feet would slow-walk
to school, and in ears’ need, could not not leave ice whole.
INVITE to WRITE #47& RESPONSES to INVITE #46
A huge pile of sea lions have hauled out on a wharf, gregarious as can be, confusing to the eye but less so to the sea lion nose. Mother sea lion and her pup touch noses in reunion. Contemplate the image and see where it takes your writing. Do we witness here a mother-child universal? A tribute to the mammal nose? Madonna and child? Do you have much choice in your response?
Because of Christmas and New Year holidays, your responses are not due until Wed., Jan 9, 2013. Email to email@example.com
The wintry rainforest pool generated some fine writing, and I thank you for that. Please, if you especially enjoy a piece, let the writer know. Build some community. Send your comments to me, and I will pass them on to the author.
Winter of My Soul
Cold and still sat my soul
at peace deep and reflective as winter pool.
Such opposites of cold of white
and verdant green dancing together
in a mirror of water’s reflection.
Ah, the touch of gold to this winter pallet.
Sun sneaks between thick branches
heavy with mossy remains of summer gone
offering a glimmer of hope that warmth
will come again.
I will have another spring. I will.
~~Linda Leary, Colorado
Light on Cedars
Perhaps it is grace that falls
Silent and glittering through the trees
I stretch out my open hands
At brilliant shards
That should surely speak
A bird calls out one word
~~Peggy Osborne, Montana
Painted with white to highlight each branch,
The forest signals the path
reflected in curved water,
Green with pine, white with blue light,
And, with the silence of night,
hung, heavy in fronds,
sees where to dance.
~~Judy Mosby, Virginia
Before it sleeps
the pond mirrors
the first silent fall of snow
~~Marcia McEachron, Minnesota
Nature's olympic pool is Less
By length, width, lanes and depth
Than those impressive-but-unnatural copies
Constructed round the man-made world;
But still it wins Gold for More
By calm, and beauty, and stands of snow-flocked,
And for mysterious swimmers,
Whose undoubted competitions
Pique our sporting interest.
~~Frank Hawthorne, Minnesota
Drip by drip of melting snow
icicles hang and grow
tip-drop by drop a film freezes, grows
Each drop mirrors trunks of trees
Even the tiny drop my eye can’t see
falling between icicle tip and trees
is trapped with my camera’s speed,
leaves me wide with mystery
Quick melt of storm makes a turbulent stream
that first was cloud, six-legged flakes, then flow,
then in the hover between water and air
ice again but smooth and clear.
Next it in cold moss, hoar has leapt
the distance from vapor to frost.
Transform, transform, Old Proteus shifts phase,
gas to solid to liquid to clear ice to crystal from air.
I have been everywhen, I have been everything,
right now I surge in You
During snowstorm the pileated rides the suet.
Even as flakes sweep down the sky,
he sends out his ecstatic cry
from throat to spread on the air.
Life challenges storm.
That is his task.
Snow rides sky. Most life survives.
An American tree sparrow has flown south
for the winter, down from the tundra cold.
She sits perky in a niche in deep snow.
Out of the wind boreal.
She knows she belongs.
Pretty warm down here.
Winter sky echoes a black volcanic beach.
A Pacific beach sees no peace in winter.
Winds crash water over stacks
that erode but born of lava do not smooth.
Small hail patters from dark clouds, gleams
briefly as it drops between black beach stones.
Olympic Coast winter presents a coherence of sky
and sea and volcanic descent that shivers this
Midwestern native of blizzard and deep cold.
Note: Photo at Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, January
12.22.2012 Clear Sky Solstice
This long night solstice sky is filled with fires
that burn through air so cold
on this small northern place
of tilted Earth, air so cold
it carries echoes of the void
the heatless absolute of space
Yet these ancient stars
are the memories of fires
that burned long before eyes
ever tilted up to them
and thought of light.
Note: The enormous scale of time and space
gives us a perspective with long eyes.
Winterberries on leafless branches
paint a Christmas scroll across
the frozen River Saint Croix.
Even in such morning cold
life’s fire reminds us and warms us.
These are seeds. Pass them on.
The hollow and edge of snowdrift
given to my eyes by shadows of raspberry canes,
thorns stripped, leaving contour lines
to sketch the cold curves of Boreas,
but wait, those dark swellings on the canes:
buds announcing spring.
Azalea mounds itself with winter snow.
the world has gone entirely white, but
look twice: each twig end a soft yellow cone
the precise color of its pollen, refusing white,
each cone a flower bud, swelling through cold,
preparing for sweet April’s breath.
On the Oregon coast
surfbirds decide it’s time
for spread wings to dodge this tide.
We, on the other hand,
refuse to admit Earth’s tides
and wingless, refuse to decide.
A young bald eagle gripped a snowy alder branch
above us in the Hoh rainforest,
feathers fluffed against cold.
We below stood rapt, rainbow-bright in down coats.
The bird watched without alarm
until my lens caught light, ‘till
great wings spread upon the sun
and we below ducked our heads, or did we bow?
Note: Olympic National Park, Hoh River, January
thin peninsulas of ice
grow across the lake
bays deep with autumn
INVITE to WRITE #31 and RESPONSES to INVITE #30
A November gull flies above a breaking wave on the Pacific Coast. I suspect this photo, absorbed for a time, may take a person’s writing in unexpected directions. See where this photo of power and fragility takes you.
Entries are due on Wed. Dec, 14, and will be published Fri. Dec. 16. No attachments, please. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Responses to the previous INVITE are intriguingly varied and wonderfully strong. Thank you, and enjoy. Below you will also find a missed response and another, who chose a different photo for his response.
we have flown
both of us
we have flown
both of us
~~Diego Vazquez, Jr.
Head full of light
Of clan and tribe
Spun through time
Against all civilizing
Eye full of fury
~~Tom Bacig, Minnesota
The colt steps forward and sniffs my hand
Ready to bolt at the first sign of danger
His tiny muzzle brushes my palm
Soft and warm
Baby whiskers tickling my skin
He fairly glows with potential
His large warm eye
A little wild as he cocks his head to get a better look
I stifle a laugh at his quizzical expression
And he explodes,
Turning in mid-air to run back
to the warmth and safety of Mama.
~~Lou Ann Todd Mock , Texas
A Procession of Lanterns in Truro
Many hands lightly made effigies –
Polar bear, dolphin, giraffe, peacock,
Baboon, rook, a Maasai woman –
She turned above our street –
Endangered symbol, sculpted,
Drummed through town to plant
A thought in spectative eyes –
We stretch strings of unhurt hearts
In carnival, images spread, snaked,
Dance and bow, the art is clear,
All workings honestly shown,
And intent hangs in the air –
We scream for extinction to beware
As if it is a force, and our hand,
Not on trigger or trap, but held
Flat-up: 'Halt! Halt Smuggler!'
We applaud our artistry, children
Laugh and dance – and a warrior woman
Of paper and cane looks far, far
Into our tomorrows to not see
Her narrow shadow between dunes –
Above us a clock strikes an hour –
Paper, stone and scissors and a bell
Solemn in its measure, a shadow fades.
~~Bert Biscoe, Bard of Cornwall, Great Britain
Dear horse, I admire your structure.
Is it willow? Is it vine?
Your outer covering, could it be white samite?
No matter. I will comment on the light
radiates from the inside,
and the thrust of wildness in your eye.
As I gaze upon you, dear shining horse,
I perceive a certain straining at your tether,
part of you wants to go.
May I guess your fervent wish?
There are horses pure and graceful
carved in chalk upon the downs,
who run through time from time unknown.
One discovered new by process called luminescence,
spied through grass and soil and thus rebirthed.
Do you seek that one, light finding light?
So you can run together, toss your heads in fresh winds
blown from the sea.
I wish you well dear horse,
knowing that my ardent admiration
touches you not. I will think of you
when rain falls upon
green grass and makes it shine.
~~Mary S. McConnell, once of England, now of Wisconsin
I Dream Horses
rushing through the walls
shaking the bed
whipped by a fury somewhere behind—
horses warping the dark
as they pass,
driving the throat’s pulse
thick flesh rippling
night after night horses thunder
out of the roots of an innocent tree
out of angry grass, stained asphalt
bare-dirt of the playground, swings
twisting on chains in the wind
out of my father's grey wasting
out of his old-man sunken face
out of my mother's colossal
out of the humming ground
where my grandmothers lie
under immigrant names
cut in stone—every night
the horses, the horses, the child
kneeling, repeats her lies
her disobedience unbinds them
she sets them free
~~Mary Kay Rummel, Minnesota
The Light Horse
She appeared as a shooting star
The velvet blue-black sky
The celestial dust from her hooves
Created what you
As the Milky Highway
Down She came at a speed
The Light Worker
And her Faithful Stead
galloped toward earth
Atop a peak the rider dismounted
Greeting the gathered populace
I am Light she said
Holding her arms high
Tiny Crystals dancing about her
I am Life she said
Nodded in acknowledgement
Then looking straight at the people
Light softly said
I am Love
Her gossamer mane dancing about her neck
Then alighting on Illumination’s
I am Peace
Illumination Stood on her back legs
Then mounting up the two as one
Rose up to the heavens in a swirl of Color
Leaving behind a multi colored ribbon
A symbol of Promise
A bridge bow for the horizons
~~Kathleen Huntley, Montana
Your eye a jewel
Set in curves that mark the plains
Of your translucent being
Who was your maker?
What the plan?
What mind, guided by grace
Willed you to being?
Perhaps you shine
A memento of another birth
A gift that of the Supreme Imagination
But It took a human hand
To gently sculpt your form
To fill your fragile self with light
Just as the first incomparable birth
Came to fruition by a mortal means
So all miracles are wrought
By the natural law of things.
~~Peggy Osborne, Montana
INVOCATION TO BEUKEPHALOS
with golden inner fire,
and great bones, bulging muscles
shouldering winged withers,
barrel belly too great a cylinder
for delicate Arabian legs—
with stars twirling like snow
in your barnstorming mane—
fly through December's
dark geometry, and bring us
back Apollo and his light!
~~ Denise DuMarier, Washington State
The Seasonings of Life
I’ve been around enough to know
the subtlety of the seasons.
Fall is stark and stunning
it’s deep beauty is most pleasin’.
Rich colors ground me to the earth
reminding me of home.
It bridges warmth with coming cold,
a perfect context for a poem.
I have to say, were I to choose
a season that has most impressed,
but one emerges from my heart -
I love the Fall the best.
But if there were another time,
to rival my affection,
I have to say, it may surprise,
Winter is my first selection.
Some think it dreary, dark and cold,
and though it be, it speaks to me.
I relish more the chance it brings,
to contemplate serenity.
There is no brightness greater than
the brilliant sun on stolid snow.
It takes my breath and holds it taut
and teases me ‘fore letting go.
I have to say, were I to choose
the season most engaged,
I’ll tell you with my wizened heart,
Winter is the best I’ve braved.
But, if there were another time,
I’d be pulled to select,
without a doubt, one jumps out,
Spring in retrospect is best!
How can one not be captured by
the raucous possibility,
as the whole earth is renewed
laughter and joviality!
The colors change in quick array
that span the spectrum of delight.
The rapid shift from dark to light,
Springtime is the best invite!
And yet, if asked to deeply think
about the finest time of year,
there is no need to hesitate,
Summer ‘s what I hold most dear.
Living’s easy, life’s a breeze,
with warming days that last so long,
Everything that happens here
is captured in a luscious song.
So, to consider carefully,
what it’s really all about,
I’d have to say, of this I’m clear,
it’s Summertime, no doubt!
when you stack them end to end,
considering this quest,
it is an easy thing to know,
I do love Fall the best!
~~Bruce Peck, Minnesota
The Parting of Waters
Here in a stream too cold to wade,
a slant branch like butter knife
stripped to burnt orange
cuts "dolphins" from rivulets of gunmetal grey.
These watery dolphins from a buttery blade
turned up next in Monterey Bay,
footnotes to mammals that would not blow
but the ride was fine as I stood at the bow,
recalling a scene in Moby Dick and
pleased to be upright, not seasick.
The motor is cut. They’re here, all around.
Silence grows in our surround...
…….minutes are hours….
WHALE! on the starboard - two, no, three, a few feet away.
Oh, the parting of water as great sides of barnacled grey
rise up to Bach's B Minor Mass.
With a heave there's the hiss of vapor hitting air,
bad breath smell of krill,
dimensions we never see in lumbering cavort.
A sentient eye looks into mine, harpoons my heart.
They disappear and we scramble to the other side.
My camera catches nothing, but everything is caught inside.
~~Pegatha Hughes, California
After frost, cattail leaves bow down
to make gentle shepherd hooks
aimed at their return to mud and time.
In breeze dry whispers of their fate.
Among gnarled roots, sleeping and alive,
curled leaves journey through decay
into food again for roots to push
new green sunward once again.
Morning Earth Healing Images 12.6.2011
Orange capsules split into winged parasols
that dangle plump red fruits of native vine bittersweet,
ripe for the season against blue December sky
gifts for grouse and pheasant, wild turkeys that can leap.
At this moment hands are busy coiling gathered vines
into wreaths complete with clustered berries,
faces replete with clustered grins by no means bittersweet.
When cold night embraces soil
moisture freezes and swells,
lifting bangles and bracelets
into sunlight that jewels frost, but
as quickly disarms their sparkle
even as it warms them, the bargain
winter makes with our perception.
Wild geese harmonize fall sky,
geometry and conversed poetry
honked loud and high.
It dives complete inside
the space it fills in me was ready.
Wild geese will always tilt my skull
up and around to search with eyes
until the ragged V is seen, even if
already fading into distant sky,
a point of faith and honor.
Freezing ice took a mossy stone
for the hub of its star last night
and quickly grew a crystal wheel,
each edged spoke stretched out
until it touched some thing in its way,
a twig or ice crystal difference
when the crystal stopped its growth
out of pure crystalline delicacy,
as if it had made a chime in cold night
so soft that no ear of denned mouse
or roosting chickadee could hear
but broke the sacred silence
night ice is sworn to never break.
A moment trembles
Night ice sees morning sun
Becomes an unsure sky
Night’s curves absorb dawn
Slip toward melt but
Sky will always blue
Out of shadowed gloom
a log festooned with lights appears,
each lamp a textured moon,
half outside the wood, half within.
Moonlight inside glows in micro-tubes
that soften wood to ease return.
Half-moons on the bark and white
splotches where moonlight spilled
soak up day and glow it later
into night to create an ambience
for four-toed creatures of the dark
who wish on crackle leaves to dance.
The sculptor must have been water
filled with milky grit rubbed off
this land the glacier ploughed so long.
The sculpture insists we see organic forms,
faces, hollows, terrain of body without fur.
This limestone began as seafloor
epochs before it lifted into continent
and this chunk broke off, swallowed by ice
nearly forever until the melt began
when it fell into the river-roar below the ice
that rolled and tumbled myriad stones for
centuries more until the river died
and the sculpted stone fell into light
where pattern-seeking eyes wonder how
the glacial river knew we would come to see
connection: organic faces, hollows, curves,
topographies of body without fur.
A small stream shivers in the cold,
and my skin decides to join it.
Splash ice grows on all
that juts from the surface of flow
and the water surface whole
looks as though it trembles
between liquid phase and ice,
thickening like jelly on the boil.
Seems the creek may sudden freeze,
and this whim seizes my boreal heart.
Gooseflesh skin goes pale as
blood pulls toward the core!!
The Minnesota melodrama rides again
in secret fear. The sad end of
being made to read “To Build a Fire”
in my gawky seventh grade.
INVITE to WRITE #32 and RESPONSES to INVITE #31
Hoarfrost adorns with crystal the top twigs of an oak while a cold blue sky deepens behind. Tree branch crystals of hoarfrost grow directly from water vapor seduced by cold air. They exist but a brief time; sunlight soon begins to dissolve them again into transparent air. If a breeze grows the crystals fall to ground in a shower. Contemplate this winter gift of hoarfrost against blue and see where it takes your writing.
Entries are due, given the season, on Wed. January 4th. I will try to remember to remind you. No attachments please. Send to
Responses to the gull flying across a breaking wave are wonderfully varied, and I’m pleased to say that kids’ poems are back. Enjoy.
Emerald marble grained with foam
surges beneath a tiny gull
In Santa Cruz, surfers
wait in the troughs
to ride a powerhouse
and when it comes,
propelled into ellipticals,
they iron out the wrinkles -
tiny black cut-outs
intimate with immensity.
~~Pegatha Hughes, California
the ocean roars harmonic
to a point in time
~~Jane Jackson, New Jersey
intent on freedom
cold black faces of rock.
they fly forth in foam,
~~Ellen Collins, Virginia
The wave swells and throws itself around.
I feel the coolness of the water. In mind
I join the wave and feel at home,
rejoining the mothering sea.
As part of this great sea, what happiness to burst with energy,
to surge, to rise, to fling drops high and rain them down.
As I play I meet the bird.
Now mind says to admire
how powerful wings move it
through the spray,
to love this fellow traveler.
Warm bird, I fly with you,
to sing the beating of your heart
and your wing
I will be loud with joy.
~~Mary McConnell, Wisconsin
stir ocean contents
You see a wave cresting
I discern a cloud of doom
Distant birdcall permeates
Pass through unscathed
grace transcends paradox
~~Mary Rose Betten, California
Bird braves the elements,
Man has brief, bold encounters
With his true creator -
Not the comfortable figure on a heavenly throne
But the source of all power
What makes everything possible,
The exuberance of love.
These I see in the mighty wave
That dwarfs but does not daunt
The solitary bird.
~~Sylvia Waugh, England, UK
My heart flies close to a flow of doubt.
Icy tentacles reach to depress me into failure.
Tired wings, pull up! Summon lift!
Sunshine waits on a distant shore.
~~Jan Hammett, South Carolina
closing in toward shore
the swell swells its massive swell
rolling in to rub a few more molecules
off the rocks
or to pulverize some sand a few microns smaller
the heave of muscular breakers
flings drops and feathers of mist
to be suspended a few moments
above the surface
outward, the great plain of ocean
prepares its next assault
mighty mighty mighty mighty
but the lone shorebird
living its life
winging over the crest
is a reminder, a notice, a plain reply
to the watermass
this is impossible
without the wind
~~John Calvin Rezmerski, Minnesota
Ah what freedom
winter bird winging over wild wind whipped wave
and I remember - the width of my dreams back then
when all was elemental and clear
that wonderful moment
when ideals were what we were
untainted by all the stories
the realities of the other
the wisdom that pulls me back to earth
when again to fly?
Bev Reeler, Zimbabwe, Africa
At just dark, the sea translucent,
a gull cloud dissipates
into a blue that means lapis,
mystics, angels of old manuscripts
an old painting restored
a vision in air
of islands rising from smoke
defined and telling what’s beneath
layers of waves,
where sun, crackling
means a quest for what breaks
while skeins of pelicans,
in thin hieroglyphs unravel
the shadow shape of all meanings
above the sea’s salty concentration.
~~Mary Kay Rummel, Minnesota and California
The Big One
It’s natural to be mesmerized by breakers
that coil, tumble and catch light.
Each wave ruptures in its own way
united in sound ebbing and flowing continuous.
Seabed and coastal boulders raise the sea up
and there is that moment between rising
and falling, the cessation of movement
unknowable as the notion of perpetuity.
You’ve been taught never to stand
with your back to the surf
in case a big one comes
and takes his way with you.
Even lesser waves can pull
the world from beneath your feet.
Yet sea birds, pelicans and such, seek the interval
behind the swell, in air that fills where the sea was.
They shadow those exposed by the predictable.
In front of the wave sanderlings feed
where sea foam begins to fade.
Up and down the shore on black motor legs,
they chase the surf fleeing wave
thrust at the last moment,
now to drop again and pursue the ebb.
Escape and safety. We fool ourselves
into believing that there is fulfillment
in constant watchfulness
when there is the wave to be ridden
and the surf to tumble into.
Jenny Wolpert, British Columbia, Canada
Festival of Elements
The Celebrants gather to hear Terra’s music
Earth sounds lifting to the heavens
Waves rhythmically drumming against the shore
Steady as they set the aorta beat
Above, lilting is the audible soprano note
Soaring clearly above the bass percussion
Heralding the day’s fire ball
The contrasts weave a united atom front
Celestial stardust of black and white
Large and small
Creating a stunning tapestry of sound to view
And Earth exhales
~~Kathleen Huntley, Montana
From Tim Deyle’s 5th grade classroom, Roosevelt El, Fargo, North Dakota
This ocean is calm.
Waves gently, swaying, pulsing
Like all the water is connected.
In unison they splash,
Wave after wave.
Birds chirp, waves splash,
The ocean is beautiful.
The waves are bounding from side to side.
Mist rises from the sea.
Sea gulls fly through the mist.
The waves move back and forth.
The beach is a fun place to be.
This reminds me of when I was on the ferry in Washington State.
Whoosh, crash the waves would hit the side of the boat.
All the seagulls looking for food.
We were in the ferry to go to Seattle.
It was really windy that day.
We went to the aquarium and all the seals stayed underwater.
All the while the wind blew rapidly.
We had to leave early because my cousin Natilie was just a baby.
She wanted to go home.
We rode the ferry back through the wind.
Back to the shelter of our home.
I hear the ocean and see the gull soaring overhead.
The gull will probably swoop down and catch a fish.
Birds are very unique.
There are so many kinds of birds.
I’d really love to go to the beach and watch birds and crabs go by.
For now I can only imagine what it would be like.
You see, I have never been on a beach.
This is a great wave to surf or just to watch,
But this wave isn’t meant for that.
King Triton owns this area.
He controls the water,
He can either make it nice and calm,
Or into a huge disasters.
(so you can blame him for water disasters like hurricanes.)
If you make King Triton mad,
Something bad is going to happen.
I suggest to not make him mad or
There would be a huge Uh Oh!
Withered fronds of bracken fern
catch and hold the parasols
of annual airborne seeds. Soon,
weight of snow will press
these seeds to littered leaves.
A few will kiss cold soil.
Spring melt will swell the few
with wet, sun will warm soil
until seed cases crack
and white threads seek
a way toward gravity’s core
while greening buds unwrap
to seek the burning bright above.
Meanwhile, fiddleheads of bracken
will shove fuzzy shoulders into air
completely unaware that Mum
last winter worked a second job,
catching dreams for strangers.
A trailing plant spreads red
on a boulder cracked by
water-seep and time and cold.
A maple seed rests upon it.
Each plant that grows here dies
and leaves a bit of soil behind.
Enough soil will gather somewhen
that a maple seed can push root
into riven stone and grow a tree
above that will in fall spread leaves red
above this boulder cracked by root
and water-seep and time & cold.
Clear ice just above the running stream
becomes a blurry magnifying glass
but the winter waters rushing past
breed more of a kaleidoscope:
russets, yellows, green and tan
dappled all with liquid shadows
shifting as the flow revises shapes.
Sun strikes sparks off
hoar crystal rows that dare
to pierce the freezing air.
My eyes are filled and fed.
A hungry beaver dropped
a young red oak.
Her technique is textbook,
built into genes by
some million generations:
First she cut her notch,
wide from top to bottom
as a yawning mouth,
then from above the notch
she gnawed her back cut
straight in until the tree
fell where she had pointed.
Now that’s a well cut oak.
Squirrel taught us to tap a maple.
Did beaver teach us to drop one?
Those suction cups that tip their toes—
One time way back when,
a baby green frog leaped onto my arm
right from a branch.
I saw those toe cups. Wow. Just like the ones
on sticks I shot from a toy gun
but the frog’s stuck on.
Fool frog would not depart my arm
no matter how I swung about.
I was lost in love of frog and biomimicry.
We enter now that winter month
when reflection helps.
An autumn warm and so blue-eyed
it frightened us,
Now a snowless solstice season drab.
Small but crucial lives
will die confused, out of sync with food.
Small bodies vanish quickly
under last fall’s leaves.
We won’t see.
Picture one warm November night.
A gray treefrog hunts
late moths on window glass, to gain
more grams against the freeze
that has not arrived, so, unfrozen still
it burns reserved fat now…..
Then there‘s times reflection doesn’t help.
Twin pairs of pintails paddle
easy down the pool
in performance mode.
the girls no doubt aware
their drakes insist on
the best lighting, for
elegance fits them
like a glove of fine silk,
Fred Astaire reincarnate
as twin pintail drakes.
It would take twins.
Look at those beak curves,
the smooth lines of neck,
the formal tails,
Any moment the pairs
will whirl water white
and ascend in grace.
Water purls below smooth ice.
Ice shadow draws itself on flow,
change without end, although
the drawn line stays, and will
move only with sun’s transit.
A close look shows a bubble trio
in a row behind thicker edge ice.
The bubbles of trapped gas
call up in me pleasure:
Soap domes in bathtub play
so long ago—their rainbows.
That was warm. This is cold,
but beauty has its fires.
Someone threw a good-sized stone.
It broke thin ice and splashed
chunks out onto solid ice beyond
the hole blasted by the stone.
A simple sequence of events.
One chunk of thrown ice
rides atop another. How?
Read the sign:
He threw a second good-sized stone
into the dashed pool he made.
A stone in a male hand will be thrown.
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