Swallow Me Whole

a poem of Contemplation

Image from Pixabay

Beneath this earth
so many souls. In this ground
right where I stand,
my bare-heeled ache on the grit;
do they linger here?

Do their solemn hazes pass me by 
as my breath drifts me
one day to the next?
Am I aware of
that chill, that pressure in the air
shifting, disturbing,
a moaning whisper to my
human ears?
Does it shift me?

I turned on the light
I asked you to leave

In the pierce of afternoon sun
an oak; a bleak, towering,
ivy-choked oak.
An angular ghost.
The last leaf fell long before
I appeared, a shifting soul, 
nowhere to go.
I contemplate its lean.

When comes the terrible fall?
When comes the violent creaking
that will rip me from my sleep?

Sudden noises — squirrel-gray 
antics on maple boughs,
on living, bending boughs or dead
bark-bare and bony limb; 
no difference to them,
with their inexorable ramblings
all toenail and chatter.
They gather and they gather.

How soon will I sink into 
worm-foul and rot?

They will scurry across my grave.
They, or their generations of they.

The dead tree refusing to fall…
These wiry-tailed rodents’ gatherings…
These shadows of souls carried quietly by…
and I?
Barefooted, sore-footed I;
standing in the dirt
left to ponder it all.

How soon will this earth
swallow me whole?

At Home Amongst These

a poem

https://www.pexels.com/photo/nature-grass-mushrooms-amanita-33695/

The squishy-cool green beneath my feet
meandering before me, a path between trees.
The bright arms of the sun reaching down,
fingers of light, bringing growth to the ground.
 
I can no longer get lost this way.
 
I have come again. I wander again
through the moss-strewn aisle
in gripping fear and anxiety-laden… 
I know they’ll be lost if I wander awhile.

I have been here too often.

The moss knows each tentative step
each catch in my breath, I gift my tears
falling softly from my chin, a tender
sprinkling of salt drains away my fears.

The trees creak with the breeze,
interrupting me, reminding me
of the cellular world, uptake of nutrient
the vascular world outside of me.

I stoop and take note of basidiophytes,
all dome-topped and mysterious,
the feathery gills underneath
each whisper-soft and musty fungus.
 
Worry melts from me as I picture
beneath them the faeries and gnomes 
in secret they watch my bare feet pad by
giggles on breezes drift up from their homes.

They remember my name. I am sure of it.

I find a cool spot to stretch and to lay
my back in the moss, a bryophyte bliss
works its way through my bones, my skin
prickles and settles, I’ve so missed this.
 
This tender release. 

If I lie here for a moment
in sweet rest, in soft sphagnum hug, 
with the sun shining warmly… 
with whispering friends, meandering bugs.
 
I’ll rest and release, breathe in, out…
the world will make sense to me again.

Oh, sing to me.


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Hunger

a poem

https://www.rawpixel.com/image/426941/grizzly-bear-roaming-through-yellowstone-national-park-united-states

I had a vision.
A pole; horizontal, unmoving.
Suspended from it — carrion
in varying stages of 
decomposition;

One, freshly hung
drips its life blood free
drip…drip…drip…
 
Another, rotting
begun, its surface writhes
with maggots and flies.

The third is rot-worn
black, a carcass shell
or its former self.

The three hanging there 
just out of reach, as are most
things when you are hungry.
 
A bear, standing on two legs
angrily reaching one sharp-clawed
swipe after another roaring swipe
menacing arcs cutting the sky
just out of reach,
just out of reach.

I don’t want to be this bear.
 
Sad thing.
Always reaching 
for the depleting,
the constantly wearing, 
disintegrating, withering
dreams cut short
just hanging there…
dreams dripping in the sun.
No, that is not for me.

I do not want to be this bear,
pathetic hungry beast
reaching for the despaired,
decaying and wormed away by 
the negative and the bleak,
gnawing, stealing, tearing
dreams disappearing,
eaten away in the sun.

I do not want to be
this hungry animal reaching
for the rotten, the black
the ghosts of dreams
the illusion of dreams
the dreams that used to exist.

I want to be a different beast.
A noble, beast of wanderlust
and curiosity, broad-shouldered
thick-backed and wiry
and feasting on berries
plump with juice and seed
paws-full gathered in the 
bliss of the sun and breeze.
The work is of no mind.
A belly can be filled with 
the small, if there are many.

want to chase after the living,
the sprinting and darting deer, eyes
frozen wide with fury and fear…
devouring the fresh
flesh-dream full of muscle
and blood pumping full
of organic desire, of 
opportunity racing, raging into
life, unabashed.

I had a vision, or perhaps
a vision has me. A sharp-clawed 
roar impels me.


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Ladybug Journeys

a poem of a quiet afternoon

https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-ladybug-on-leaf-during-daytime-121472/

A ladybug journeys
 up Hawkweed stem
 searching for another

Dark-spotted red bug
 with which to fly high
 the ladybug labors on…

A squirrel scampers
 through leaf litter and soil
 searching for another

Nut she had buried 
 some time ago Spring
 the squirrel labors on…

Chickadee and titmouse
 nuthatch and goldfinch
 searching for another

Black sunflower seed
 or millet or worm
 the birds labor on…

I absorb the sun 
 I notice their sounds
 each searching for another

While creatures toil and fret
 and summer besets
 I, thankful, rest on…


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The Waters Run Clean Through Me

a poem about the North Carolina Mountains

https://www.pexels.com/photo/bench-cascade-creek-environment-355321/

Deep in the North Carolina wood
 nestled between steep mountainous 
 rises, a gorge, through which run
 waters, crisp and cool and clean.

A bench waits there for my soul.

The waters run clear, cross rock
 and moss, with dribbling sounds
 and meandering thoughts of the
 distant seas. The canopy hangs over.
 
 Shady oasis of quietude waits
 for me to climb into its folds.
 A genteel hug whispered through green
 to wrap me up in wonder once again.

A hike for a day, I must go.

I’ll climb on the rock, spread 
 my wings to gather the sun
 rub my toes in sphagnum
 hear the cool-water melody flow…

Oh, Carolina, you are good to my soul.

Let the breeze sway and creak in the pines!
 May the babbling waters find their gentle way
 and the mockingbirds ramble song to song,
 let your nature carry its secrets on.


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Nectar Dreams

a poem about the tiny creatures we often miss


Honey Bee (Unsplash.com)

Nectar Dreams

Walking sticks, June bugs,
Bumble bee, Wooly Bears
all came out to play
and when the streetlights 
at last were lit
the fireflies lit the way.
The June bugs, in droves,
in whispering swarms
slapped against our chests
emerald green-backed and shining,
the airborne jewels in summer vests.

Where have all the June bugs gone?
 
Wooly Bears sauntered by one-by-one
we didn’t touch them as they rolled
laborious slow and steady, with hiding
faces, these solitary mysteries unfold.

Oh Wooly Bear, please come 
out to play once more.

Walking sticks, box turtle, sage-shaded mantis
and the creepy-singing “whooo whooo whooo
that rose from the woods behind us
telling secrets that sailed out over the garden
plump with cucumber, tomato, corn stalks, melon.

Daddy Long legs often skittered by
climbing on spindly silent legs,
with tiny black dot bulbous eyes 
they crept on silent dregs.
Now, sadly gathered elsewhere
on distant dream, searching 
for more of their kind.

Perhaps the June-bugs hide there too
in this grassy hidden plane
where creatures gather 
to speak of when their numbers
had not yet begun to wane.
They worry over summers 
that no longer look the same,
of the children no longer twirling
in grass with magical dreams.
 
Bumble bee, I beg you, do not go away.
I plant my flowers one-by-one
enticing you to stay.
Our earth is not the same for you
but your plump colors light our way
I miss you singing nectar-dreams., oh please
Forgive us, we have lost our way.

Wooly Bear Caterpillar (https://cottagelife.com/outdoors/wild-profile-meet-the-woolly-bear-caterpillar/)



Walking Stick bug ( https://www.spirit-animals.com/stick-bug-symbolism/)

June Bug ( https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2016/jun/28/outdoors-summer-heat-magnolias-and-june-bugs/)

Thank you for reading Nectar Dreams, a poem inspired by my love for the tiny creatures and the joy they brought to my childhood. I hope you will read more of my poetry!

Seed to Earth–an Environmental Poem

a poem of life

sunflower field

https://unsplash.com/photos/pF_2lrjWiJE

Fruit trees drop them one, two, three…we twist some free.
Flesh-juice skinned; we wipe the sugary
dribble from our chins.

Time melts flesh from the fallen in weathered decay,
seed to earth to green in the flowering
seasonal swing of things
life continues still.

Pine trees drop them one, two three…
serotinous and resin-rich, pregnant with seed,
Flame sets them free!
Bud scales open petal-wide, exposing knobby core.

Life springs from ash, the earth peeled clean
blackened trunks rising like pillars of ghosts,
awaiting wing and chirp and beak.
Some birds prefer to nest in post-fire trees.

Time heals the scorched, the black, the white-ash grays
to leak green and leaf forth in the wake of flame
growth anew and spirit churning
Life continues, still.



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