Sunday, March 19, 2017

I Am Waiting, by Maureen Owens

for spring
the snow to stop
to melt
unveil the mud,
the mud to dry
the right moment
to remove
the snow tires
put away
the sweaters
and fleece,
park the boots,
plant the garden.
waiting for the alarm
for dogs to stir
coffee to finish
my turn in the shower
the car to warm.
Waiting for the computer
the emails, the replies
the issues of the day.
Waiting for lunch
for a run, a walk,
the sun, a breeze.
Waiting to leave,
To drive and arrive,
for joyful dogs
waiting to bolt.
Waiting for dinner
waiting for bed,
the sweetness
of sheets and blankets
cotton on skin
release and surrender,
exquisite not-waiting.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Edible Haiku, by Caroline Gates-Lupton

decaying leaves
dark earth
white, wild strawberries

trees in bloom
scattered apples
night falls — deer come

clattering on the porch
a light goes on
deer in the pumpkins

fresh compost
two fawns, one doe

making hand pies
my sister
the sugar monster

ithaca parade
i’m told
i have enough candy

birthday party
soda, apple juice
i cry for water

cows don’t realize —
is not delicious

dandelion heads
eat them, she says
too fluffy for me

marshmallow on a stick
burning, falling
tiny explosion

green flames
the pasta box

my sister, pasta queen
the box says ten minutes
she says five

homemade whipped cream
warm summer night

a dinner food
in my family

container of blueberries
fresh from the store
gone in a day

my great-grandmother’s
marinara sauce
gone, forever

no more honey
on buttered toast

food for thought:
does ink taste like?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Quan Yin, by Rob Sullivan

She is the embodiment
the essence distilled
the deity made manifest
living, breathing incarnation
of compassion boundless, with no end

She is the comforter
the healer and changer
of hearts and minds
of obstacles and veils
the clear seeing truth sayer
the ever patient, always caring
for continual awakening experience

She is the beloved
sought for wise guidance
and skillful means
the object of subject devotion
and life giving gratitude

She is the esoteric
made simple, real and plain
the kind and gentle guide
on the path to enlightenment
beyond old age, sickness, birth and death
through illusion of duality
towards a loving embrace
of her wise ways of the feminine

She is the ah yes!
the aha! the eureka!
the yes! the now I see!
the all is well!
the what will be, will be!
the love reign o'er me!
the compassion awakens!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Labyrinth, by Stacey Murphy

While only the stars watch
I walk the labyrinth
Palming the rock
Inhaling pine scent from the trees
And worm scent from the morning rain
The clouds now a memory
The sky bright tonight
Glinting off a shell on the path —

A shell.
And I smell something else
Sea beneath my feet
A mile down, maybe more
The remnants of life before
Bones of the tiny beings
And the giant creatures,
The ones who would have engulfed me
Laid my soul bare
Divinely ravaged.

And yet I walk
Back and forth on the path
Into the middle, leave the rock
Back out again
A slower unraveling
The stars so old
Their light taking so long
To hit this shell on this path
Everything winding back
To the need for patience.

Friday, February 24, 2017

2, by Caroline Gates-Lupton

Where I'm From: a list poem

Ithaca, New York
Warwick, Rhode Island
Northampton, Massachusetts
Libraries in Ithaca and Michigan
Chlorinated hotel pools and
Cold-water lakes
Toad-covered beaches
Sandy rocks
Lakeweed grabbing at my ankles
Roaring wind
Thunder in the ground
A tree bent double by an almost-hurricane
Roasting marshmallows in the fireplace
Audio books and
Visual books
Story time with Miss Fran
Ballet class with Miss Tanya
Dora sneakers
Dora underwear
Winnie-the-Pooh everything
Magic Treehouse on cassette
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Science camp with Shannon
The almost pool disaster
Dance camp and
Writing programs and
Acting and film camps
My grandparents' house
The maroon carpet
Sharp black edges
Covered with rubber
Going for Yummies ice cream, every day
The wading pool
Mom's old town
My uncle's house
Ketchup bottle
Cottage summers
Dead fish on fire
Stuffed cat on the roof
Dad to the rescue
Cleaning the dock with
Broom and water
Bird poop and lakeweed
Washed away
Saving a half-drowned bee
Can it fly?
The bee at Camp Invention
Cupped in a girl's hand
No stinger, she says
Being young
The obsession of losing teeth
Breaking out and away
Short hair
Long hair
The warped world of glasses
Two trees in a yard
Make a forest.

+ + +   + + +   + + +

Our Colors

Purple. That's always been my mom's color. It's red and blue, mixed up and muddled together. My old color and my dad's color, combined. Red and blue, like a beating heart. Purple, like the deepness after sunset.

Pink. My sister's color. She sees colors in her head when she hears a name: blue for me, brown for our brother, pink for her. Pink, like a watered-down, sassier version of red. She wore the pink marker down to a nub and still won't let it go.

Blue. My dad's color, my new color. The shade of the lake before the clouds turn gray. Almost green, but lacking in yellow. The color of my grandpa's eyes behind his glasses.

Green. My grandmother's color. When I was little I thought of her in terms of her color and her animal. She was green with giraffes. Early-spring green, new-buds-on-trees green, watch-the-flowers-open green. My grandmother was a green giraffe.

Red. It all comes back to red. My old favorite color. The tint of my first two pairs of glasses. The shade of the cup I always drank from, plastic and chipped along the rim. Red isn't like fire, like everyone says it is. Red is hot lava and tulips and the near edge of a rainbow. Fire burns. Red smolders.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mapping Butterflies, by Saskya van Nouhuys

There are about 3,500 habitat patches in the Åland Islands, Finland, that are suitable for the Glanville fritillary butterfly. We used to think there were only 1,800, but then we found 1,700 more by consulting areal maps in 2001. The butterflies live in 500 of the habitat patches, on average. Some patches have been occupied for at least two decades, but most of them are only used for a few years at a time, or even just one year. Some patches are pristine looking meadows held open by grazing sheep or cattle, or by mowing. There are also dusty roadsides, inexplicable forest clearing, well-tended yards, garbage dumps, and desolate open coastal strips. Many of the patches are scattered with agricultural debris — foundations of barns and houses made from huge rectangular red stones, unmarked abandoned wells, crushed cement drainage pipe, rusted Soviet tractors, apple crates, and decomposing rubber boots.

In a good year we find about 12,000 caterpillars in the spring, just after they wake up and begin to feed on the tiny green leaves that start growing even while still under the snow. We estimate, based on resampling experiments, that we miss on average a third of them. So maybe there are actually 18,000 caterpillars. Two thirds of them die because they are parasitized, and some are eaten by stink bugs or green lacewing larvae, and some starve too. So it isn’t a surprise that come summer the islands are never overrun by clouds of fresh new adult butterflies.

Each habitat patch has a number ID that, to me, is more like a name. There is patch 22, which is the first one I ever visited, where later I stepped on a dead cat, and later still Päivi’s mother, Elvi, lost her cell phone. There is 1668 where an old man walked compassionately from his house, leaning heavily on his cane, along an uneven path across the stones, to bring me a sun hat. At patch 576 a boy used to follow me around while I looked for caterpillars. First when he was very young, he gave me his hand and I took him to see them. Later we found them together, and then later he would mark where they were with sticks, before I even got there. He disappeared. Then two years ago he reappeared as a grown man, sitting in his car drinking with his friends. Resting his pale hand on the crest of his beer belly he watched me, not saying anything.

Then there is patch 3484, up in northern Eckerö. That is where I always take visitors because of the walk through the forest, the surprising beautiful view of the sea upon arrival at the patch, the constant breeze and smell of drying sea weed, and the absurdity of hundreds of big black caterpillars seeming to rush as they move slowly across bare rock. That is where I went last year the day that Ilkka died. I had been to 3484 with him once, and to patch 1, with the giant snails, and to many others. It was warm even though it was still May.  I lay down on the flat hot rock, alone, to begin to mourn.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Map for My World, by Sue Norvell

My map will show the edge of a large lake, seen from a very low angle. It will feel endless.

My map will show the snow geese migrating by like swift, shifting clouds.

My map will mark all the places dogs love to roam, racing from one wonderful scent to the next, scattering dandelion seeds in frothy puffs.

My map will have many brooks going through cow pastures dotted with Holsteins. They will wear their austere black and white coats and pretend to be sophisticated, as they chew their cud.

My map will have lines of tiny mushrooms marching along the edge of a downed tree as it crumbles back to the dark soil.

I will have to devise new icons for this map: one for the mooing of cows, another for the chatter of red squirrels, a third for the trudge of feet on the path to the top of the hill.

My map will show laughter coming from houses, back yards, stores and coffee shops. It will show giggles and shouts from children running on playgrounds. They wear red, blue and pink jackets, the fronts flapping open.

This map will also need icons for beauty and joy.