Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Tag: Nature

Signs Along The Way

 

Along a pebbled shore
of sand and shells,
littered by storms of life’s injustice,
sprang a single, wild, fruited vine
that defied the lack of soil
spread its thorny shoots and leaves
sprouted clusters of tight berries,
(there’d been so little rain that season)
but black, and fully ripe
weighted with concentrated sweetness
and packed with seeds
of possibility.

Then after dormant winter
among some ancient boulders
beneath a ponderosa pine
and spreading broadleaf maple,
a golden pride of dandelions
welcomed hungry bumble bees
with their first taste of spring
and watched a sparrow
gather blades of grass
to weave a nest
in which it laid
five tiny, perfect, speckled eggs
discovered in the vines.

And as the hellebores bloomed
demurely in the shade of cedars,
we planted, you and I,
four budding twigs, the shape of baby trees
to form a living picket fence
around our loving home
and from those buds, burst blossoms
each visited by bees
that swelled throughout the summer
until we noticed on our wedding day
five perfectly imperfect apples,
our new family.

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

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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

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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.

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