Blue Flag Iris lures a bumble maiden
to hover, the way wild things can,
the old mutual seduction
of the past ten thousand years since
the glaciers here lay their down their stones.
The bee girl lands on target
yellow guides, pushes strong
under the rainhat petal to find
pollen, backs out, zooms off
in search of more sweet local color.
Wild blue phlox dresses so impeccably
I am left almost without words.
Each petal of the star narrows toward
the nectar well, emphasized by white
bee guides bright in the ultraviolet
vision of the bee eye.
How long, oh, how many flowerings
of trial and failure did it take
for the little plant to learn
that bees see ultraviolet?
Deep Time tips me into the abyss once more.
Circles and hoops and cycles.
Everything and all a’round.
This liana in the rainforest
has somehow buried itself
one-third into dark, an
ordinary mystery, for
a large arc of most lives
is hidden in the dark while
the known is arched in light.
Odd how every forest,
fragrant, green, sensual,
alive with birth and rot,
is still for us half metaphor,
the pillars of tall trees still
serried down the naves,
joining branches in the vaulting
where hopes wait to ascend.
An eastern pondhawk girl finds a green grass leaf
to mask her own green nature. Fresh from rebirth,
she waits for new wings to dry. Dry, she will hawk
the shoreline where small food flits and dances.
Tomorrow or tomorrow next she will find a blue bright male
to fertilize her eggs which she will then tap-tap into weedy water
with her dark abdomen tip, a hundred or so eggs each lap.
Today, she is new, new wings, legs, the best eyes on Earth.
Love your hunger, dragon girl. It shall be satisfied.
A bluebird parent stands upon the nest box,
looks a bit vague, does not look ready to dash off
to pluck another bug from grass for chicks,
stands flatfoot back with an air that suggests,
“Well they’re fed for right now,
but listen to them down there.”
Blackberry flowers entice the tiger swallowtail
who today does not alight to sip his nectar due,
but beats wide wings to hover in lack of wind.
When I eat blackberies off this bramble
the taste will spread me wide with golden wings.
A small bluet damselfly
crunches down his lunch,
despatched before the eating.
His prey looks to be a fly winged
something like a housefly.
The clustered legs are eloquent,
but my empathy is nil.
In a few days, deerflies will begin
their tyranny of the mammal head,
seeking their blood meals
and I will pray heartily for hungry
damselflies and dragonflies.
INVITE to WRITE #41 and RESPONSES to INVITE to WRITE #40
Water and Darkness populate our oldest mythologies, Dark usually first, then Water as the Deep. In the photo, these ancient partners flow from dark stone together, but now with a third partner, Green Life. Contemplate the photo and discover where it takes your writing.
Responses are due Wed. June 27 and will be published Fri., June29.
Email to email@example.com. No attachments please.
The water strider lily pad evoked some lively responses. Do not hesitate to let the writers know that you appreciate their creations. Email to me and I will pass them on.
A WATER STRIDER SPEAKS
You call me a common water strider.
Who among you can walk on water
with speed and grace
without breaking through?
Oh yes, I know the story
and I remain a skeptic.
That fellow had two legs of equal length
and it takes six to navigate the water's surface -
one short front pair to give support
(and snatch some prey along the way)
a middle pair to act as oars
a long hind pair to steer and equalize the weight.
Call me whatever makes you feel clever
(a pond skater, a Jesus bug)
but I am Gerris remigis.
I descend from the family Gerridae.
My relatives are legion. Our beginnings,
our begettings, our adapting and evolving
long precede your thick holy books,
your thin imaginations.
We can survive the widest flood
your God could possibly unleash
and we won't need space on the boat.
~~Sara DeLuca, Georgia
The oriental rug in the living room
Was a wine-red ocean dotted with continents
Woven in shades of cream and navy and moss green.
I jumped from one land mass to another,
Avoiding the burgundy water, gauging
Distances, safety, the need for balance.
The lily pad’s shape reminds me
Of those carpeted shapes,
Curved edges floating in the calm swell
Of a summer pond. On its surface
Water striders, dragonflies, and
The slow, patient snails
Test their footing, examine the scarred cartography,
Feel beneath them
The wide undulating breath
Of green water that mirrors sky.
They look over the edge
To the depths silvered with minnows
As I, so long ago,
Stood on one foot, leaning out
With arms stretched like wings,
And believed I was floating
On a burgundy sea.
~~Ellen Collins, Virginia
Scarred but Part of the Flow
The tickle touch of a strider
is erased by the flow of the water
and the overland flow of the water
is balm to a lily pad nibbled away
by the very snails that it shelters.
~~Pegatha Hughes, California
The Majesty of the Mundane
Say the word ‘lilac’ and I am instantly
taken to the realm of beauty.
In my mind, bushes in full bloom that
arrest the eyes with a stunning array
of color, and aromas that entrance
my soul the same as does love.
The lilac occupies this stunning presence
for less than 2% of its annual existence,
yet we know that essence by heart.
The humble lily pad, it is true,
captured the imagination of the
famous painter, Monet, calling him
to become intoxicated with its
essence in some 250 paintings.
This lily pad has not been captured in
such a surreal eternity. The heart of
its existence is in its ‘off’ season,
where it offers itself up the to the
betterment of less spectacular
aspects of nature.
Overtaken by snails striving to eat
themselves out of house and home.
Providing a jungle gym of sorts to a
trio of water striders intent upon
perpetuating their species at the
expense of the lily pad. Providing a
cafeteria for frogs.
A challenge for those of us who are
used to consuming splendor that
is pristine. As though our personal
satisfaction has anything to do with
the intrinsic essence of this existence.
Which leaves me to grasp the subtle
reality that beauty truly is in the eye of
~~Bruce Peck, Minnesota
When I was a child,
The cushy lily pad
served for frog to perch upon.
To flick a lazy tongue,
to catch a wayward fly,
while he waited patiently
for the touch of pink, pure lips,
to restore his role as prince.
Within your habitat - I ponder
eminences that have landed
in their various disguises.
Have used you as retreat,
as lodging, refuge, launching pad.
How many dastardly creatures
Have munched your edges,
to reach a hunching quarry.
I see you now, solid and dependable
No doubt ready to accept
Those who crawl or creep, scamper,
or land with gauzy wings outstretched.
This mortal being takes the signs
Upon your surface,
And weaves sweet stories of a universe
That I can never truly know.
~~Mary McConnell, Wisconsin
Cycle of Life
It floats in its sea of blue
Faces sun daily
Absorbs those solar rays
Radiates warmth and green
Once crisp edged and new
Teeming with life above and below
Life that has taken its sustenance
Eaten into it and spit it out
Made it home
Now with the spoils of life and time
Jagged edges brown and worn, spotted with rot
That lily pad seems …. so much like the earth
On which I stand
~~Gayle Fonnest, Minnesota
One day three little water bugs
went to a picnic on a waterleaf.
After a bit they saw a little
grasshopper, who said,
“What are you doing? Why haven’t
you brought any food?”
The three water bugs said,
“We thought we would go
picnic on the giant pickle
floating in the water.”
So they walked on.
Once they got to the water leaf they
immediately started eating it. Then
one of the water bugs said, “This
pickle tastes weird!” They looked
closer and said, “This is not a pickle,
this is a waterleaf!”
They did not know a farmer owned the
waterleaf. Unfortunately, the farmer
chose to come out at that moment.
He did not like what they were doing.
By the time he got to them they were
already too heavy and fat, and when they
tried to run away they sank in the water
To this day no one dares to picnic on a
waterleaf. The moral of the story is,
Don’t get too fat!
~~Alayna T. Age 8, Minnesota
The male looks sadly incomplete,
a malformed shadow of the bee-mimic
queen robber fly who buzzes about
her search, dangling below her
the hapless drone she is mating.
Mother Nature often offers gifts
of knowledge that disquiet me.
But life force insists the eggs get laid,
the flowers pollinated, the larvae fed.
It startles my eyes from close to soil,
this boldly patterned moth in day.
An arrowhead of black and white,
true head brightly orange, black
antennae, black powderpuff eyes.
Does it sleep now under stems of grass?
This moth has truly wakened me.
This red-spotted purple butterfly
owns a name so much less
than what this butterfly wakes in me.
Beauty should not be so laxly named.
The wings above are black shading into
brilliant iridescent blue
crescent edged in blue and white.
Forgive me. I should not complain of Adam’s task.
The photos wake the joy missing in the name.
The gentle days of June.
All the new beings are out
trying to make a living.
A fresh daisy fleabane
hosts a small red spider
who hopes its meal will
land upon the daisy,
a bee or flower fly.
urged the red spider
up the tall fleabane stem.
Redtop grass sets a pretty panicle of seed
even flooded throughout this Spring of Rain.
The seedheads blush now as they ripen,
prepare the seed for germination.
All Earth dwellers know there will be floods
and there will be soil for seeds to fall upon.
The trick is to keep heads up and growing
on strong stems while anchoring your roots.
This little blue dasher dragonfly,
just born again from water,
shares its secret weapons three.
Blue In bright sun, they glow like LEDs.
Between and below the compound eyes
shine three ocelli, eyes akin to yours,
labelled simple eyes, that help
the dragon pitch its wings just right
to trap its prey in spiny basket legs.
I wouldn’t mind LED eyes of blue,
but where exactly would they go
to avoid obstruction by my nose?
Three wild iris among ferns
give blue a depth that raises hairs.
They lift from their green surround
to be seen by their partner bumble bees
that accept pollen and nectar
in return for pollination, and now
millions of years after that symbiosis grew,
wild iris seduces another being that stood
up from the veldt to see its surround,
and we want from wild iris naught
but to drink her truth with our eyes.
On this bright summer solstice day
little Pearly Crescentspot spreads wide
having had her play with
Brown-eyed Susan’s ray flowers
that did after all encourage her with sweets,
and isn’t that the solstice way?
A small interlude in green today.
The katydid nymph is already large
though its wings are yet small,
so it clambers through a ground-level
wilderness of green carrying its own sky-tinged-green,
set off by antennae and eyes of gold.
When his wings grow long and harden,
and his own green mimics leaf, he will
make a music in the treetops
and hear it with his foreleg ears
(upper right front leg. See?)
and know it will attract one
who will make her way through trees
to join and make more nymphs to feed
in June’s leafed wilderness of green.
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