Courtesy of Cindy Tang, Unsplash

“How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!” Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four



Today is Super Tuesday here in the United States. It’s the day that the largest number of states hold their primaries to determine who will be the nominee for the next presidential election. What a relief to come back to the sanity of poetry and to let go the news, which I listened to on-again off-again as care givers were in and out today.

What a bracing collection of poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, walk sedately through the forest, February 26, which encouraged poets to write about nature as witness. These poems are more about observing or being in nature than being observed by nature. Close enough for our purpose, which is to provide a place to share creative work, to inspire, to exercise the poetic muscle, to connect with other poets, and to encourage.

This week we warmly welcome Kate Copeland and Adrian Slonaker to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt and welcome back Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Erick Nicholson, Clarissa Simmens, Leela Soma, and Mike Stone.

Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro.



Envelope

little flakes of cloudy breaths
from the top all the way down
Winter beauty and bear
a cold pale and pain for
grey eating and drinking
So strategically dressed
she sticks to sitting outside
where the patio heater
Cannot read, concentrate
filling days with endless
songs and numberless walks
Watercold still no matter
there’ll be birdsong without fall
Wrapped up in a thousand shawls
as jewelry has different looks
On the back of an envelope
she scrawls her fears for the
November monsters in dreams now
the ginger-haired guy from her
adolescence nightmares is back
Summer makes her someone else
entirely no dark on the doorstep
no bogeyguys on an envelope
later when it turns light
no shadow days blue nights
to stare at and do nothing

© 2020, Kate Copeland

All the water in the world
a grey afternoon and just now
it starts to rain, big drops
in small pools on her terrace
looking outside – another
glass in her hand
the house gets dark
last light through the living
a house already silent since
he is gone, big drops
on the roof beating a drum
beating her dead heart
she sits down, suddenly
dead-tired but too afraid to
lie on their bed, big drops
against those windowpanes
a year of loss
has started
a lifetime of love
has ended
the man has cut her landline
and she cannot believe
there will ever be a
rising of another sun a
blowing out the clouds
another good morning beautiful
another – looking outside
all the water in the world will
not free the lights in the lake
this is how she will remember
losing, forever

© 2020, Kate Copeland

Upstate

Through the kitchen window to where the
lake ends and the trees touch her
lustrous sides, a rippleless motion
in the reeds waving at all the colours –
at me –

and the pines’ crowns simply
add a powdery green to where
the water starts a black-blue dark
leaving such velvety shine –
to me

Then dive in
because the leaves
they rustle turn a light
wind, stroking the season
still warm enough
to dive in unripple
this brightness the calmth

a happiness
polished by so much beauty
trees surrounding the lake
circles lost in this
dialogue of sounds and colours
how many identifiers are

there to believe?
crickets are laughing, a prey bird
sleuths the satiness

a happiness
so unworldly
a gratefulness
so unearthly

that I just dive in
bring me down back
to lights ways to wish
of colours and crowns

© 2020, Kate Copeland

Star System

A sultry summer night in August.
Crickets trill and the blue pool
water calms down. The hills smell
of oleander and she lies there.
Her bikini inviting, a vermouth
with no ice. Tempting lifetime in
California. I need help, she says.

Try to get to where
I am, he relucts, not a lot
better but at least you try.
And drifts off. About time
to get your act together
not ask more questions or
invite, so she sleeps soundly.

And winds up her dreams,
forgets the rain, his love
once. What matters not a lot
more than no ice than
to look outside where
hills, wealth, water
A sultry blue night in August.

© 2020, Kate Copeland


The Forest Beings Reply

We grow as Nature ordains
never complain and bear the pains
from black to grey, green to brown
one by one we fall to the ground
Our duty done with full obedience
spreading freshness and fragrance
with peaceful quietude we surrender
making space for others in elegance.
This is The Truth This is The Call
This is The Providence of The Fall
Be it Oak, Pine Fir or Kowhai
Sown ‘n Grown, This is The Final Cry’

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

A Walk in the Green Forest

Green leaves trembling
With the tremors
Shivering with laughter
What do they see?
That makes them murmur
Sweet rustlings
Tender whisperings
Like the twittering
And the fluttering,
Manifesting Nature
In the green sea;

Waving leaves
Like the waves
Moving the living
And the dead
Spread for miles yet
With limits bound
Trunk so firm
in the ground
But the green
So serene
Silently brave
Taking life’s chance
Continues with the dance
Happy to be, to us unseen
With what, they see around.

© 2020, Anum Wasim Dar

These two poems are from Anjum Ji’s unpublished novel The Pencileeze Hall Forest Mystery, Winner NANOWRIMO 2012

Connect with Anjum here:


Biking to the Beach” – A Cascade Poem

The shoreline changes
My breath holds steady
Memories of salt, my beacon

The sea air shifts the sand
While waves grab the wet grains
The shoreline changes

Yet directions are not needed
The old bicycle just needs legs to pedal
My breath holds steady

Despite the sting in my eyes
Quickly there and then gone
Memories of salt, my beacon

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run / And I do a few other things too . . . 


.private land.

yet there are paths,

walked, not just

by one or two.

or rabbits.

have young feet run here,

or solitary folk, thinking,

watching light hit water,

where monks crossed.

the abbey is swathed in snowdrops,

this time of year.

look for twigs.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Connect with Sonja here:


Sea Fever Again
[Apologies to John Masefield]

I must go down to the sea again, to the dirty sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a Greenpeace ship and a cause to sail her by;
And the oil slick and the dead fish and the oiled gulls drowning;
And a green scum on the sea’s face and a poisonous dawn breaking.

I must go down to the sea again to rescue the beached whales;
Most are covered in oily sludge so our futile rescue fails;
And all I ask is a clean-up plan and a white surf flying,
And a pure spray and dolphins leaping and bright gannets diving.

I must go down to the sea again and offer up a prayer
For the dolphins caught in plastic nets and seals gasping for air.
And all I ask is a global vow to honour life on earth;
To work together for a green vision and a glorious new birth.

© 2020, Eric Nicholson

Eric Nicholson is a retired art teacher and lives in the NE of England. Eric’s site is: https://erikleo.wordpress.com


Invasion

The feet flexed
in vegan Earth Shoes,
but the thudding of size-eleven soles
mutilated the
woods’ wind-laced silence
that had snaked through
bare birch branches and along
boulevards of elms and maples and oaks-
sharing names with samey sterile streets
in the suburb I’d escaped
to seek an illusion of
pristine paths upon which I
encroached as inappropriately as a
cockroach at the Ritz.
My thirsty eyes sipped a pair of
blinking gray owls above a toad
darting around a puddle
polluted by a packet
tossed by another trekker
who’d snacked on granola
marketed by a
multinational conglomerate
as 100% natural.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker


Sedately Sauntering

Brambling buckets of blackberries
Hands torn by thorns
Moving from bushy density
To towering treeful forest
Lightning-struck structures
Of burned bark becoming
Horizontal forest barriers
Keeping some out
Some in
But either way we can win
Crackling clumps of leafy deciduosity
Red-orange-green
Self-composted bridges breaking
Bubbled muddy carpetry
Winding through lean, mean lanes
And I hear my name
Sung through dappled sunshine
Leading me mysteriously
As I walk erect and brave
Passing hidden graves of
Unknown feathered poets
Who serenaded their ribbon
Of life’s silken road
Composing high-strung music
Of unrecognized joy and tears…’

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens

Clarisa’s site is: Poeturja


Vermillion

Leaves fall down, blown away in the autumnal blitz
Gold strewn paths crunch and crackle underfoot
A single vermillion leaf like a tear drop stands proud
Defiant, blood red, life courses through its veins.

The widow looks askance; the blood red leaf sends a shiver
The memory of her wedding day, a bride adorned with jewels
The red sindoor* in the parting of her hair, beginning a new life
Of wedded love, happiness, babies, the start of a journey.

The sudden death of her spouse, the ritual of her widowhood
An awakening of the day as the sindoor on her forehead is wiped away
The bindi, the dot, the point at which creation begins, negated forever
The jangle of broken glass as bangles are crushed and ornaments discarded.

The white sari envelopes her shroud-like, a colourless palette
A life of the walking dead bereft of feelings, love or emotion.
Vermillion turned to ash, grey, unassuming as the leaden skies.
The blood red leaf is trodden under the walker’s brisk steps.

A lifeless mess of veins traces its lineage etched on the path
Lies submerged in the brown heap of dead leaves.

* Sindoor: Is a red dot applied to the bride on her wedding day and removed on widowhood.

© 2020, Leela Soma


Walking in the Forest

Walking in the forest
With God at my side
The two of us just talking
I took Him at His word
Because
of
the
sparkling
thing
Going on around Him
Me pushing the branches
Away from my face
And swatting at the gnats
And Him just walking
With nothing in His creation
Daring to touch Him.
Do
you
have
a
moment
to
see
something
beautiful?
He asked me of a sudden
And I said sure why not
So He walked up this tree
As though He were walking on a fallen log
Easy
as
could
be
While I had to shinny up
The tree bark
To get to that little branch so high up
But when I reached it
He showed me a little bird
Just loving to be so little
And love being little birds’ love
It seemed so natural.
I climbed back down carefully
While God just walked back down
As
easy
as
you
please.
We walked on in silence
Me and my gnats
And God and his Teflon demeanor
Til He stops and asks me a question.
Why
do
you
worship
Me?
What’s not to worship? I say.
Do
you
understand
Me?
He asks.
You move in mysterious ways, I say.
Do
you
think
I’m
moral?
I don’t know, I say
Not like we should be.
So
why
do
you
worship
something
immoral
you
don’t
understand?
That was the last I saw of Him
We cleared the forest a few years back
The missus and I
Have a clear view
From our back porch
Of
the
end
of
our
world.

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Waiting for a Poem

You sit down on a bench
Facing the tree
In a small garden
Made quiet by the wrought iron
Fence and gate around it
Across the street from the bookstore.
You wonder will it ever find you again
So long ago and far away
From where you held on to each other
For dear life
Yes life was dear then
And then you wonder how you’ll recognize it
When it finally does arrive
It might be that ant making its way
Laboriously over a blade of grass
Toward that small range of pyramids
It calls home
Or a huge heffalump
Trumpeting in the Hundred Acre woods.
You notice a folded newspaper
On the edge of the bench
And reach over to pick it up.
Unfolding it you see her handwriting
Along a margin on the front page
“Aught have many
Many ought have one than naught”
And you think to yourself
That nothing in this godforsaken world
Is faster than the speed of night.

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Hunting for a Poem 

You wake up before the sky over the hills lightens
When the dew is still wet and corpulent
Or you don’t go to sleep at all
Instead, you hunt in the blind night
Careful, slow and silent, intent
Like a child on what you want
While the hunted sleep trustfully but fitfully
In the forest awake with dangers
Or perhaps the city
House to house, door to door
Window by window, it may be watching you
Behind the curtains
It might be very small or very large
You won’t know until it’s too late
It may be in front of you
Or behind you
Ready to lunge at you
Or to fly off in a loud flapping of wings
How will you know
When you don’t even know the shape of it
Or the smell of it
Or the taste
Until you are locked in its deadly embrace?

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Walking the Fog 

First of all, fog is more practical than clouds;
I don’t have to tell you how down to earth it is.
Then there’s the fact that some fogs are friendly
While others are decidedly not.
I was walking home through the forest one evening
On the path I always follow
And saw it creeping silently toward me
Between the trees and over fallen logs and grasses
Licking my cheeks with its cold tongue.
Except for the nebulous grey-white
I couldn’t see beyond my poor shoes.
I turned around abruptly and picked up a naked branch
To use as a blind man’s tapping cane
And turned back toward the fog
That had swallowed me so thoroughly
Within its leviathan belly, that I had no clue
What was forward and what was back.
I remembered that the path was slightly less overgrown
With grasses than the sides, one of which climbed upward
While the other overlooked a rocky promontory.
The fog thickened and thinned in small swirls
As though taunting me to go this way or that
But behind the thinness was always
An impenetrable thickness.
That was when I saw the ghostly outline
Fading in and out of the fog,
Her sleeve and hood visible then invisible,
Visible and invisible,
Like a memory you try to reach
But can’t.

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2020, Mike Stone

On Liking Maps Too Much

Personally, I like maps.
The precision of the black line boundaries,
The colors of the bounded entities,
And the proof that only four are needed
To separate each entity, whether town or country.
Like I said, I like maps, but not too much.
Whether two-dimensional or globular,
I’ve never come across a bound’ry line so well-defined
Or patch of ground colored just like on the map
On any of my nature walks.
Besides, I don’t much care for towns or countries,
But forests, lakes, the seas, and mountains,
Clouds and animals, and kind-hearted people,
Those are the beacons for my soul.
I’d like a map to show me where
The people are friendly and where they’re not,
Where the place is good for raising kids,
Where animals are treated well,
And where the earth is well-respected.
I don’t care if the boundary lines meander
Like creeks and clouds are wont to do.
This would be a map worth having –
I’d tuck it in my travel pouch.

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2019, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry, It contains all new poems covering the years from 2017 to 2019. The poetry in this book reflects the unique perspectives and experiences of an American in Israel. The book is a smorgasbord of descriptions, empathies, wonderings, and questionings. It is available on Kindle and if you have Kindle Unlimited you can download it as part of your membership. I did.  Recommended. / J.D


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