A katydid nymph walks daylily petals
toward anthers it will climb
to gain a meal of pollen.
Ichabod legs with lanky feet
give the seeker the gawky charm
of a teen, gifts me again that smile.
Butterflies and hummingbirds come
to sip and lap nectar for daily fuel,
but katydid eats the lily pollen protein
to build wings and muscle in the rush
to beat the season, as all nymphs must.
In shallows at low tide
a fledgling heron
fresh from nest
tests its heritage.
The measured stalk,
step by step, eyes intent,
legs freeze, neck extends,
beak blurs down,
holds a fish.
The nest dissolves,
does not exist.
A Least Skipperling seeks nectar in red clover.
"Least"??--it fits only magnitude,
which is small, which is beautiful.
Here, less is clearly more.
"Most" Skipperling? "Essential"?
How these orange-black-gold
elfin butterflies do flick and flash
about a field seeking sweets down low,
around knees, in grass and fleabane
and the small clovers.
As the Owl muses as he swallows a mouse,
find the all through the small.
White butterflies court
on a rainforest trail.
Neither seems quite sure,
but pheronomes hold sway.
The venation of wings
through white and cream scales--
a subtle fascination.
Head fur hints of gold.
Now and then one flutters up
as if to test the strength
of their mutual compulsion.
The Other instantly flutters after.
They dizzy-whirl round each other
too high and quick for my eyes,
settle down to earth again,
candles in canopy shadows.
Calico Pennant carries gold veins
down into grasses near soil,
his wing's clear cells tinted
with the green that feeds us all.
Gold of Sol and Gaia's green growth,
this perfect dragon fuses both.
Sunlight on maidenhair fronds.
This play of light on shadowed ferns
has caught the human breath
of foragers and hunters since
our kind saw. Think about this.
You stand in the river of Time:
Downstream, as far as your eyes,
others stand in the flow,
sharing the beauty of fern.
Upstream, mist. What
can survive us? Who knows?
Three mushrooms lift from
a log split by weather and rot.
I am taken by their trio, each
pale around the rim, darkened
in the lifted center set off
by a whiter shade of pale.
It's all about light and dark.
Down in the deadwood black,
fungal hyphae bundles thread
through every transport tube,
white in light, in dark unseen.
When it comes time to procreate,
shrooms push up into light
where invisible spores
can trip the light fandango
on transparent wings of air.
With a nod to Procol Harum.
A new widow skimmer dragonfly
lands on a grassblade runway
that its weight twists upside down.
All adangle, the skimmer remains poised,
may even find its flip a pleasure,
for to the young, all engages.
With youth and wings, speed and jaws
there is no fear, all is simple, all is clear.
A showy egret finds itself among
giant brown pelicans that take no interest
in egrets with golden cheeks and golden feet.
The pelicans preen, kick back and sleep.
Oh, they know the egret's there.
Hominids are curious, pelicans don't care
unless one is another of their kind.
Both egret and pelican are splendid.
It is my human failing to smile here,
musing on beauty and the beasts.
This swallowtail with suntails
feeds me, fills me full.
The yellow panels of its wings
continue into its black back,
almost meet but leave a dark stripe.
Small yellow dots pick out its head.
Where its hind wings meet,
iridescent blue crescents dance
like the aurora above crescents red.
Rows of yellow spots are suns
occulted by planets and their moons.
In the person of a butterfly,
the firmament has come to hallow Earth.
Robberflies may look fearsome,
with spiked legs for grabbing
and a beard below huge eyes, but
those eyes are never bigger than
their stomachs or their appetites.
Robberflies are apex predators,
they live to capture, kill and eat,
atop their food chain, much like us.
A dragonfly hangs from a twig,
ignores my intrusion into its nap
even though it is aware.
I am lost within its wings, crisp
networks clear as storybook fairies,
leading edges picked out by sun.
Imagine: You own four wide wings,
each able to dart forth, zip back,
hover like a hummingbird,
and even while you nap
each wing is rimmed with lively gold.
This pretty dragon is the Variable Darner
What if there are tiny birds
who site their nests on twigs
lying on the forest floor?
Say they lay three eggs in each.
I picture mini-tiny nestlings
poking up their open beaks.
The nests are mini-fungi 5 millimeters wide.
As odd babies go, they burble charm.
Black bullhead thumblings swim a creek
clouded from last night's storm.
They swim like pollywogs,
wriggle through the liquid
with rudder tails, bull heads
unmoved, ploughing through.
Thin barbels are tongues and noses
charged with sensation in dark waters.
Sometimes yarrow revels in pink,
a genetic sport.
Each white mini-blossom
opens to my new eyes,
golden pollen thrusts up
from each elfin posy
centered on its pink corolla.
Dried stems of yarrow white
cast the I Ching.
Would fortune favor genes for pink?
In coastal forest grown by rain
a little flower lifts from fernlike leaves
to find the blessing light
and height to spread its seeds.
This is the herbalist's Herb Robert,
a dainty wild geranium for relief
of toothache and nosebleed.
I admire these petal stripes
and at the flower's heart
the stigmas five and red, already
stretching out toward pod.
The seedpod is a cranesbill
that will sudden-burst when dry
to scatter seeds beyond its greens.
We don't know who Robert was,
maybe Duke or happen Saint, but
likely named from Latin rubeus for red--
by any name, a flower pretty as its leaves.
Bottle gentian is in bloom.
Little flies can smell it, but
are not allowed inside
for nectar or for pollen.
Bottle gentian has pledged
her treats to burly bumblebees.
Only big beegirls have the strength
to force a groove between tight petals.
When a burly bee pushes out again
her fur is pollen bright
and tummy sweet with nectar.
Little flies still can't get in.
The groove closed fast again.
Bottle gentian savors choice.
A grounded birch trunk hosts
the engines of decay
that return it to the soil
to host more growth and green.
The power of these toilers
to so arrest my eye with
the shell-burst of their gills
from a pebbled ivory stem.
Antler fungi fan up from soil
in a kind of caribou confection,
a forest of bony antlers jostling
in a vast migration.
But these antlers do not clack
against others when they touch.
They are silent as soft corals
swaying in the swells of sea.
She tenses when she sees me,
cocks her head my way,
nails me with a golden eye.
She begins to flick her tail,
prepared to fly.
Her long neck hides.
Supposed to be the heron green,
But she is gray and blue and rust,
feathers of her wings gold-edged, so
her cheek and underbeak,
legs and long toes yellow.
Her tail-flick calms. She stays.
Ambush killers of two kinds
wait for bees and flower flies.
Jagged Ambush Bugs wait
on the edge of disk flowers as
male-on-top they mate. The act
does not sever her attention.
Her notched pincers yawn wide.
On the left, a yellow crab spider
also waits, only two legs show.
The rest of her tucks beneath
the petal tent she glued with silk.
A mystery: If one
ambush predator moves,
will the other strike? If
a fly or bee arrives for nectar,
will she be attacked by three?
Note: Ambush bugs are true bugs
that, like spiders, inject a poison
that liquefies the prey's insides.
She is wise in the ways of predators.
The whitetail doe gazes at me
as she would at any danger. She
is in her steady doe power: tall
swivel ears, eyes wide-spaced,
brow ridges, long lashes, all
tapered to her velvet shining nose
above a perfect columned neck.
I smile, for her mouthfull of grass
and greens makes her snout gleam
like she has whiskers like a cat
or dog--any carnivore.
I interrupt her graze. Time to leave.
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