Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Tag: Nature

Winter Banquet

From my place at the table
through the leaded panes
I watch
sparrows, robins, finches
and chickadees
hop, flutter, and flit
from the cedar fence ridge
and naked plum tree boughs
to the freshly filled feeder—
its top a beacon of yellow
the only color beyond the spectrum
of wintergreens
and dormant umbrage
at the string of grey
marked in months of days
while the plump squirrel
perches and plots his plan
this fruitless season,
no time of famine.

Mother’s Bloom


On this first day of spring
the white narcissus in my yard
hang their heads
still timid, barely more than buds,
planted so late in the fall
after the first frost
by this unskilled gardener.

The neighbors’ daffodils
and those in the park
and along the freeway through downtown
have all been aflame for weeks,
six-petaled suns
trumpeting hope
before I could feel it, before it was here.

I worried what the neighbors would think,
their late arrival
a sign of my irresponsibility,
the kind everyone notices
but no one mentions
like a baby born only seven months
after the honeymoon.

But there’s no expiration date on hope
I remind myself
after impatiently urging
my bulbs to bloom,
their pale blush and slow unfurling
now a joy that erases
this mother’s sense of shame.

Rite of Fire


In a plane of easy pasture the Sun sets
fire to the last remaining elm before
descending behind a range
of Bens and Glens
leaving no pleasant shade for lovers
only a charred trunk
one more pole
rooted to the beyond
who lends its crippled limbs to carry the wind
strung out on wires
hot with potential
they, a danger to its former leaves
ever a reminder of its own descent
now, electrifying life—
new meaning
for its transformed self.

Photo by Jamie Burgoyne, used by permission.

Sun Catcher


On those days when I feel low,
small and insignificant as
flotsam upon the waves of inevitability

I will stand tall
stretch my legs
and lengthen my spine to full height
as I remember that I
am an equal to the sun—

as solid as a mountain range
as rooted as an ancient redwood
as free as outstretched falcon wings
as ethereal as a summer cloud
as lithe as a blade of grass

— when I feel its rays,
its energy, warmth, and light
I will know that they
have travelled more than
ninety million miles
to this place
across empty space
through earth’s atmosphere
to my face, my chest, my planted body
where they meet the end of their journey
just three feet from the ground.

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