curl in the dark
about a basswood trunk.
When I shine the light,
one is afraid and scampers into night.
The other stays on the bark,
stares into the bright,
making a choice.
cousins are individual personalities. Raccoons can be among
the most confident, even arrogant mammals. I fell into instant
admiration of the little masked critter who boldly stared
into my light.
the first bird feels
a stirring, opens
his beak into song.
Earth perks her ears.
Small theropods grin,
lift tails, walk smartly.
Frogs feel tympana thrum
sequences never heard.
poke heads up
Off in the cycads, the eye
of the first feathergirl
Morning is never the same.
amazing thing is that this did happen one time, just as each
word we know was once spoken for the first time by one human
mouth. So many unknown moments to celebrate. So much inheritance.
in his bright
after hunting bugs
caught by gold
eye humps, smooth
beaded hide: these curves
are the knot’s curves:
comes down to the circle, and here, the branch which the knot
records. Treefrog primary habitat is branches, green leaves.
of field grasses
white in August sun
float and sway in wind:
make free now
with grasshopper crunch
which rattles about on wings.
primrose in bloom,
and mullein from the top down.
Butter yellow wets my mouth.
for small transitions. Certain yellow wildflowers evoke a
just-realized synesthesia of taste for me--we churned our
own butter during WWII. Grasshoppers are one of Earth’s
premier grazers; they now become rich protein for predators
both bird and mammal. Raccoons and skunks pat the grasses
at night to find somnolent hoppers, crunched before they know
it. Birds by day, mammals by night. Hardly seems fair.
is netted in branch and leaf
but never caught.
Moon catches eyes,
caches time, as she
rolls around the seasons.
Black Cherry Moon.
Down in the river bottoms
cherry boughs sag
with dark fruit
cool nights to sweeten
so trained animals will gorge
and spread the seed.
Berry Moon: when
wild plums go red,
serviceberries blush maroon,
elder swells in musky clusters.
leaves splashed blue
with bird droppings,
bear scat seedy blue, bears
embrace berrybush and saplings
and walk them down with weight,
flatten them to ground
where wide wet mouths
strip clusters free
in mumbling ecstasy.
is a tossing of stalked plate-flowers.
Plates tilt as if twirled on carnival sticks.
White saucers of Queen Anne’s Lace
wobble in breeze, crowd the eye.
Beetles of orange rove
plates of pure white, dip
sweets from myriad flowers.
Spent flower plates curl
into intricate nests woven
by some quirk of dry hydraulics.
Cages of green filigree
sequester small seeds, but why?
Anne’s Lace, or wild carrot, is one of those ladies
who retains her mystery through all the seasons of her life.
The soft-bodied flower beetles offer color to her white throughout
her long bloom. But her power most strange is the basket-sphere
each multiple flower becomes.
the strange quick ratchet
of the katydid who
presents at the window screen,
bright green, a leaf alive and veined
and searching for its kind,
leaf with high knees,
swept back antennae .
It sings its wings together in a blur,
raised veins scrape and stridulate
the sharp ratchet of
the announcing katydid.
are modest most of the year, eating oak leaves in treetops.
But when the season comes upon them they are night loud. Once
you see them, their beauty seen. dispels any irritation.
As I walk
the sun-baked shoulder of the road
a grasshopper flees ahead of me,
turning from monochrome brown (even to eyes),
to a brief flower of yellow and black,
ten feet each time, over and over as my feet scuff near.
I am cast
into the memory dream, walking
barefoot down a sandy woodland stream.
The blue heron unfolds up and flies,
lands around a curve. Each time I reappear,
he turns its head and peers past his beak,
leaps up and flees as I near.
Loud the clap of wings.
Such a mystery, how we are cast about in that ocean, how sudden
and complete the immersion. Chasing is the oldest game.
our sable cat lies dead.
His red tongue tip out.
Scout rubbed my leg
two hours ago, when
he ran out the door.
I didn’t know
I offered him to night.
He looks so small.
I can’t write.
final brood of barn swallows
perches on a telephone wire, while
a calling parent hunts the sky for food.
Her wide mouth delivers flies again and again.
As she approaches each child, it trembles wings.
walk close beneath, she warns.
When I don’t stop, one quick call throws them all to
where they must practice for migration,
when many die. Soon families from many barns
will line the wires, and vanish overnight.
swallows fly far each night, 600 miles or so. Imagine counting
wing beats. What a first experience after hatching and being
fed always by mum and da’. Now imagine how many late-brood
fledglings survive migration. Most species are thoroughly
began with thunder,
promised downpour, runoff,
but delivered a half-inch
of soaking lovely leaf-drip rain.
A dozen bluejays
cavort and scream in the feeder
wild as my spirit:
a month-long dry, not a real drought, but enough to fear,
the land has been given drink. South-slope roadside mullein
had quit blooming. Water is life, sing praise!
lifts and falls
across the pond
flame-child of sun.
and arrow dip,
sine curves in flight.
are late breeders. Chicks are in the nest. Males are August
gold beyond bright. So much of life creates the sine curve:
wing folding songbirds, cow paths, turkey tracks across the
winter pond, population distributions. Connections.
jewelweed blooms now
on low ground.
Orange-lipped blossoms invite
swift wings to open them.
When bees and hummingbirds leave,
carry on beak and leg
gold pollen to the next
the blossoms smile, in control.
It seems to take Yang forever to learn that not all dualities
hovers above wetlands.
As it begins to lift,
in a transient quirk
the mist reveals layers,
allows vision beneath
its flat underside.
The owl perched
on the stretched low
branch of butternut
does not shift
as her veil
translates into sight.
mists dissolve from the mind, it is lovely to find one’s
state of being echoed in the mists of dawn. The barred owl
is earth’s resonant night mystery.
pink cosmos flower
a tiny bee has her jodhpurs
filled with pollen gold, thighs
so wide she bumbles over
the gold-ripe anther dome.
The perfection of the miniature is my continual
lure. A lifetime of seeing does not approach nature’s
repertoire of intricacy.
etch dreams all night
with their pulsing rasp
of wing-edge struck
against toothed leg.
Thumbnail plucking comb crudely approximates
how the grasshopper mating song is made. Male cicadas have
tymbals in their bellies which they flex in and out to shrill
like a tweeter cone. Yin rules, and poor Yang has to sing
Like inverted candles
the fruits of ironwood trees
hang from branch tips,
burn bright green
back at the sun. Soon
they'll dry brown and prepare
the winds to rattle.
Ironwood, aka hop hornbeam, has fruits much
like the hop vine, a linear sequence of attached segments
much like a rattlesnake’s rattles. But they warn only
of new life.