Saturday, November 11, 2023


By Mona Bedi

cumulonimbus —
still the clouds from
my childhood

winter dawn
a fledgling tries
to flee the nest

summer’s end
a whiff of autumn
takes me home

Friday, October 13, 2023

Rivers I Have Known

 By Terrence Sykes

London embanks upon
The Thames - laced with many bridges

Cairo cradles upon
The Nile - lacking any bridges

My old flat sheltered me from driving rain & cold
My new quarters shield me from drought & sand storms

Big Ben keeps time on the Grand Isle
Minarets mark the passage in the Delta

Armored crocodiles patrol the banks & waters while
Marked birds soar & threaten from the vast sky above

The shadows of the last war linger & haunt
A new war looms heavy & low as mosquitos

The morning fog overflows its banks - Waters reach flood stage at dawn
Though drought - fear & doubt reign upon parched lands

A seasonal haiku

 By Ed Ahern

first leaf barely brown
waif on a still growing lawn
prophet of the chill

Friday, September 22, 2023

Human Vibrations

By Leila Kulpas

Our scavenge for old bottles forgotten
my mother, father and I follow one another
along the river bankin the light of reared-up clouds.

Steps bounce over mulch and moss,
strands of casuarinas brush bare arms,
and low down, on trunks like cement,
cicada shells gape and glint.
Embossed with the creature's
every ridge, hollow and bump,
even tiny hemispheres of eyes,
my child's mind would shudder
at the thought of the tearing away.

When I unhook the legs,
the spines scratch, as if the empty shells
have come to life, startling my grip.
The breeze snatches them, dances them
round and round. Drops them
in unreachable crannies.
I try holding them tight,
but they crackle into flakes.

Even in our silence,
our reverence, our human vibrations frighten.
Every few feet, a water dragon
plunges into the stream up ahead.
We hurry, squint through bubbles,
glimpse its shadow.
Drifting, sinking.

The Snail, The Rooster

By Maurizio Brancaleoni

after the rain —
the saved snail
extends its horns

dawn in the suburbs —
the rooster crows
as in olden times


by Chen-ou Liu

alone with the sound
of water flowing over rocks ...
this childhood river

Zen Garden
a dragonfly's wings pat
the morning sunlight

eye of the hurricane
alone in the dark I look
into my life

Monday, September 4, 2023

Lost At Sea

By Ceri Marriott

Slave, migrant, refugee
Forced to sea, to leave
An oft-loved land of birth,
A cherished family, and dear friends -
What choice for many
On this ill-apportioned earth,
Exploitation and abuse
Still over and above free will;
And while the politicians spout their stuff,
And crooked exploiters make their bucks,
The humble fisherman
Nets not fish, instead dead children, babies are his catch
To huge, but shortlived outcry,
And a sickening racket
Which stirs again the cruel fuel
Of endless profiteering.

River Thames

By C.X. Turner

frost fairs
on the River Thames
roasting oxen

Pine Creek

 By Katharine Cristiani

800 years of Eastern Hemlocks

a cathedral of giants

until an insect 

rolled as forest fire 

charred the life out,     

centuries of canopies disappeared

August 2019 - Pennsylvania Mountain Laurel 

evergreen jewels 

except when drought 

sucks the jade out, wilted

brown-spotted, dying

March 2020 - Sycamores

white parchment rips

torn scrolls fall

wind storms extract roots 

teeth dangle from gums

July 2021 - Red Pine

burgundy mosaic bark 

cradles the forest 

soft needles crown the sun,

the chaperones of Pine Creek

watchers of clear water

of the black flies 

     who float with trout 


August 2022 - Blue Heron 

raises its leg 


the S of its neck

stabs beak into trout

June 6, 2023 - Deer

choke at dawn

when a dry peach rises 

against gray

poisoned dandelion seeds 

blown into orange haze

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Untitled Transalations II

By Stephen A. ROzwenc 


Mai ia manawa mai
ʻO ka ʻalani
ʻAʻohe mea i moeʻuhane maikaʻi

Ever since
The watermelon
Nothing has dreamed better

Untitled Translations I

By Stephen A. Rozwenc


Vuelos de colibrí
Abrir la cremallera
Nada sublime

Hummingbird flights
Sublime nothingness

Splash Of Intuition

By Jean Janicke

From a distance all is calm
at this stretch of the Hughes River.
Flat water by the far bank
reflects specks of sky shimmered
through dark bars of tree trunks.

Roots grasp the river’s edge
by the abandoned church
as branches reach across ripples
bubbled by submerged stones.

A dry leaf zig zags down, rocks
like a silent metronome, breaks
mirrored water.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Grand Reopening

Dear Plum Tree Patrons, Morgen John here.

It's 3 months to the day that my father passed away.

In his honor, we're having a grand reopening.

Will be posting 3 poems per day for the next 3 days!

Like my dad I'm a fan of the mystical, wondrous ways of nature.

Therefore, expanding the submission call for rivers, to include all bodies of water -

From puddles to ponds, to seas, angry waves & the like.  This will run to September 23rd.

The beginning of autumn approaches.

(Thanks for understanding my hiatus)

Gunnison River, Black Canyon

By Ryan Harper

At bottom they were groping for light:
such a pass a day makes across the rocks,
pale rails rolling up the twisted trunks
of junipers. People like them had warned them:
no place for the neophyte.

Hard to tell behind veils what goes down,
but the land’s higher relief is first
to vanish under secret claims; secret
combinations of people like them would clear them
from the west, for the breaking ground.

John Gunnison, layman, captain, friend
to the civilized tribes, sent dispatches;
the rapids grayed as the white day came and went
over lunch. Those who knew Zion by light
believed a glory reached its end.

The clash by night and the clash with night—
ignorant armies never know which, cause
Gambel oak, knuckled root and gneiss, to assume
martial postures. Back all this, the latter-day fear:
Zion ruled in plural, off-white.

Gunnison, at bottom you will lie:
rising schistic to the canyon rim
great columns of earth will keep watch—for the dark,
with the dark—make your peace with the hard stakes,
the rails laid up into the sky.

Piney River

By Joe Cottonwood

Just another midwest river you never heard of,
green, quiet, doing its job. We float for miles
in a johnboat. An abandoned wasp nest
hangs from the gunnel. We drift and paddle
passing limestone bluffs, cedar trees
hanging from cracks. The day is
smothering hot, Fourth of July.

Vines tangle the sky,
lilies flatten cool water.
Turtles plop. Scads of tiny fish
swirl around our paddles
as if curious, playful. Sudden mist—
a mossy waterfall. We see watersnakes
dark and diamond-backed, frogs that stare,
egrets white, herons blue,
and the lovely purple gallinules
which the guidebook says don’t live here
but in stealth they do,
all in a narrow wandering sanctuary of wildlife
wedged between farms. And here’s
a beaver lodge—in Missouri!

What we don’t see
are other human beings
until we beach at Baptist Camp
where a party of teens flying a rebel flag
play loud music from gunrack trucks
and set off fireworks, celebrating bombardment.
Nearby is Sweet Potato Cave where
peaceable farmers hid their harvest
from raiders during the Civil War.
Caves, like rivers, hold secrets.
The teens have no idea.

The Old-growth Forest Trail

by Darrell Petska

Here must waft
the tang of joy
at its simplest:

feasting saproxylics—
tiny beetles,
blooming fungi—

imparting to the flesh
of long-fallen giants
life anew.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Plum Tree Tavern Elegy

By Royal Rhodes. 

For Russell Streur.

Plums that bent the boughs of Temple trees
Lie as fallen fruit upon the ground,
Untouched by monks of buzzing clouds of bees,
Mixing with a peacock's strident sound.

The palette of these trees reflects each season:
Red that protests when earth's green is gone.
Elegies from owls that test our reason
Emerge to hunt the longed-for coming dawn.

The Tavern Innkeeper who welcomed us --
As water in a river fills these spaces --
Veered away from haiku, pale with fuss.
Each voice he sought had nature's edgy traces.
Returning writers fleeing urban bustle,
Now hear how wind has strewn the leaves that rustle.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Origin Of The Species

By Russell Joseph 

(In honor of my late father, Russell.  May he Rest in Peace - The Plum Tree Tavern's original barkeep.  He has left this establishment to his eldest son - my name is Morgen) 

May he live on forever in this space he loves, crafting words and enjoying collaborators he chose carefully.  He was a judicious editor  & I will continue that legacy.  Some of his dying breaths were to post another poem here. So I will begin with one of his.

We love & miss you Dad ~ Morgen, Devin & Margot ~

"We died in the dust.

We died in the rain.

We died on the hills in the arms of our fathers who came and who died and hung from the crosses and died in the darkness and ashes with our mothers before us.

We died in our beds and we fell from the cliffs and died on the rocks.

We drowned in the sea and we died in the summer and we died the day we were born in famine and plague.

We died on the mountain by fire and stone.

We died in the mouths of hyenas in the jaw of despair and we died in the valley leaving footprints and bone.

We danced on the flood and we climbed on the shore and we stood in the cave in the eye of the lamb and our veins and our lungs were the sound of the drums on the moor in the song of the heart and the hymn of the dove.

We rose out of mud and we came out of clay.

We came out of the tomb and the mouth of the fish and we rose from our graves to the hour of earth from the weave and the warp and the loom of the night.

We came from the ark and the maze and we rose from the dew and we came to the day with the loaves of the bread and the skins of the wine.

We walked on the water and we walked on the moon and we walked on the streets of diamond paved cities in impossible joy wearing dresses of light.

We rose out of dirt and rode on the wind and we wrote on the walls and came up from the wreck of our ships in unfathomable deep with the heart of the ocean passed through by the storm.

We came with the flame and the wand of the stars in our hands on the third morning of May and we came out of desert and we swam on the tides with the breath and the word and the names of our gods on our lips and like heroes and ghosts and lovers survive."

Friday, May 26, 2023

Against the current

by Kevin Browne

against the current
a muskrat tests
the spring chill


by Chen-ou Liu

the call 
of a Canada warbler 
mist-choked over water

River Avon

by Farah Ali

River Avon
a smudge of otter
ripples the surface 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Already Noon

by David Chorlton
The air’s a friendly buzz
and breath is honey
on the desert trail that feels
its way from spring
to early summer and the cool
interiors where flickers
raise their young in a saguaro
or the point
at which to decide between the knowledge
of coyotes or the garter
snakes who occupy
the narrow world the news
doesn’t reach; not the overnight
shooting, not
the lines along the southern border
where heat
comes begging for asylum,
and not the storms that pass
between the races. Nothing here
is ever broken; it just
collapses and decays like
dry mesquite and cactus hearts
soaking up the sunlight
even when it stings.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Coal Fires

by Keith Melton
Grandfather Mountain, thawing 
Expanding in molten rants, stone prairies
Casting about the heavens
The earth rippling; stone plateaus, rivers
Peaks and ancient balds, once majestic
Awakening to acid rain, sulphur and the gray leaves of mortality.
Distant cities, warming  
Islands of light born from the furnace
Fire and coal, the turbines
Like magicians toiling in garages
Freeways across the land
Sending diesel clouds into the sky.
Coal fires, burning
Becoming the spawn of the earth, Appalachian spring
Brittle, sedges burning, cliffs barren
Spruce and hemlock dying away
Tourists silent before
Barren trees.
In clouds of coal ash, no text message, no smoke signal.

The Unbearable Weight of Silence

by Doug Stone
After all these years when he walks across Tiananmen square,
the pavement still vibrates with the rhythmic rumble of idling tanks,
the quick, slick, metallic slide and click of machine guns cocking,
the murmur of fear swirling through the crowd like trapped water,
then the sound of gunfire and all those screams eating the air.
 That moment still quivers through his feet into his bones,
quickens the rhythm of his heart, his breath at a dead run,
stumbles, gasping until all the jagged sounds of that day
flat line into an unbearable silence too heavy to carry anymore.

Not All Russians Are Assholes

by Al Ortolani
The mailbox is frozen shut. The mailman
smacks the ice away with his fist, drives
down the road towards the next box
planted on a fence post, leaning from years
of constant wind. They are stuffed with
brochures, catalogued
cruises down European rivers, a time-share
on Marco Island, a glossy envelope of hybrid
tomato seeds for the tray in the window.
There hasn’t been a real letter to open
since Wi-Fi reached the plains, since Google
ran its highspeed cable next to the barbed wire.
In the church office, the minister
searches conspiracy theories for simple answers
to complex problems. Blades
of winter wheat green-up through the sleet
of today’s storm. In years past,
homesteaders planted Russian seeds
that could survive Kansas winters
when nothing grew
except the hope of meadowlarks.

Friday, May 19, 2023


by Farah Ali

mudlarking along
the Thames
dunlins gather  

The San Lorenzo

by Jeff Burt

The San Lorenzo dries
swallows dabble in a trough
take mud from horseshoes

Morning mist

by Joshua St. Clair

morning mist settling
on the Susquehanna’s banks
bird’s-eye speedwell

Music of Rewa

by Monica Kakkar

marble rocks' sculptress
pebbles to Banalingas
music of Rewa

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Mice in the Coal Fields

by Al Ortolani
The office car is abandoned
on a spur of railroad track. It is filled
with dust and gray sunlight. Some windows
are locked in their final shutting,
others broken or riveted with .22 caliber holes.
The door hangs on a single hinge, jamb split,
shattered by vandals. The mining company,
long gone under, has stripped the pastures of the coal
that lay soft and bituminous in its belly.
Bills of sale, receipts, orders indecipherable
litter the floor, catch the breeze, flutter like birds.
The miners who made the transition
from deep shaft to strip mining
drew small pensions or moved on to more
promising veins. Mice run the floorboards,
stuffing file cabinets with fescue, bits of letterhead,
mimeographed paperwork. Even in triplicate
commerce is consumed by mildew, by rough
bark dogwood, by switchgrass. The end
of each workday brings more loose shale.
Overhead a turkey buzzard circles, feathers
like piano keys fingered by wind.

Getting More Than The Drift

by David L Williams

It’s less than perfect river time unless
The feel of water swells against the skin,
With bubbles rising as from fishes’ breaths
And currents stirring feelings like the wind.
The driftwood and the litter on the banks
Might get scant notice, and though clearly dead,
They manage somehow still to join the ranks
Of ducks and railroad bridges overhead.
Passing beneath, one’s path defies straight lines,
The view distracted by some chemistry
Of downstream nudges, heeding current signs,
Becoming like a point in history
Somewhere between the source and yawning mouth,
Which opens, where it’s warmer, way down south.

Mannequins Yearning for Eye Contact

by Cathryn Shea
While visiting Santa Fe, which feels
a world away from my home state,
I’m disoriented tripping upon a lacuna
where monuments once stood
to honor the extermination tactics
of Diego de Vargas and Kit Carson.
And the Indian Wars, America’s real
longest war. And where monuments
that should have been to Pueblo and Navajo
never were, never mentioned
on the edges of my schoolyear textbooks—
Part of existence that’s toppled in a new day.

Back home in Marin, the county named
for coast Miwok Chief Marin, under a sky
dimmed with fall fires, I drive west to hike
to the beach at Abbotts Lagoon, named
for two brothers who grabbed the land
in 1858 for dairy ranching. I try to escape
from the remembrance of amended history,
eyeless busts and statues all over my country
erected to crimes. They used to remind me
of mannequins yearning for eye contact.

Named for a Southern Pacific Railroad
land agent who nobody seems to remember,
Redding, the town I grew up in, overlooking
the Sacramento had cornerstones we ignored
on brick buildings from the mid-1800s,
no generals I knew of atop bronze horses.
As if to pretend that lands weren’t stolen,
the first peoples weren’t massacred: Modoc,
Wintu, Yana, Pit River, and Klamath River tribes.
Like there was nothing to remember.
The historic brothels and saloons have been
demolished now, transplanted by parking lots.

Away from history’s rubble, at the western limit
of the continent, weight of the atmosphere
presses down on me. Sand in my face, water-doused,
I feel the collapse of seafoam. Trying to convince me
the past won’t be repeated, the sweet talk of Pacific spray.

Sunday, May 14, 2023


by Kelley J. White

peering through the mist
half day light
horses in the rain


by Terrence Sykes

summer fragrance blooms
sweet peas sprawling in the ditch
planted years ago

monastic dweller
plum rain falls upon my soul
mulberries & tea

star dust labyrinth
water birch & willow trees
harvest quagmired hours

mirages olive groves
smudged silver grey leaves sway
chimera summer

raging thunderstorms
mythological proverbs
mere pilgrims we are

bitter wild lettuce
beneath this ancient chestnut
shading my body

seasons lie in wait
sweeping autumn leaves aside
chrysanthemums bloom

garden hours rust
weeds shall be our nourishment
share with the rabbits

morning rain mushrooms
soup simmering fire
fragrance of dried fennel seed

rivers of vines soar
cicadas call out to me
lightening bugs are stars

berries fermented
birds flint about the garden
bitter wine to pour

dawn came early
weaving fog in the relics
sprout laden garden

ashes of vespers
scattered upon fresco’d sky
wind tangles my soul

rest in this season
leaves dance in the wind
torn unread pages

pokeweed berry ink
now tobacco brown
once shone lilac brilliance

budding olive saplings
genuflect in the squall
mucked cardoons resurrect

virginia creeper
climbing like jacob’s ladder
hoeing the tilled fields

cloud constellations
voyages to fables isles

forage a craft
sail into oblivion
map my escape

clouds & fabled isles
prune that ruminating light
crayfish augury

chanting cicada
where is your monastery
heal my weary soul

Friday, May 12, 2023

Where There Are Forks

by James Penha

the Lehigh River
flowing shallow this spring
from lack of snowfall

the Lehigh River 
ranks second among toxic
US waterways

the Lehigh River
wholly owned by Lehigh Coal
till 1966

the Lehigh River’s
name stolen from Lenape
for where there are forks

Cowichan River, B. C.

by petro c.k.

riverbed rocks
salmon remains

Granchester Flows into the Cam

by Sarah das Gupta 

Move on, nothing here
 - only the flash
of a kingfisher's brilliance
only fine strands
of bright green hair
only the rise and fall
of clouds of gnats
only the last fingers
of light touching
the line of willows
only the first song
of the nightingale -
No, nothing
Nothing at all


by Pranab Ghosh

One step in water
The shadow of the crane floats
Where are the fishes?

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Temple of the Azure Clouds

by Uchechukwu Onyedikam/Christina Chin

Temple of the Azure Clouds 
beside the Keluang river—
come to venerate
the monk's birthday 

Winnipeg River
by Debbie Strange


Belisima Ribble

by Andrew Collinson
Trickles and drips from limestone lips
ichor, earthy wounds gentle issue
mossy Ribblehead springs and gills
Cam and Gayle beck’s confluence fresh and free
Piped by meadow pipit calls, Belisima Ribble
wends down - to suckle the Irish sea
Three peaks and Roman road near
crows-foot veins nourish flow. Jam, Syke, Shivery
Long, Lat and Mares Gill’s all make young
jugular Belisima grow. Dipper, plover
and stonechat love her, in punctuated
rapid’s steady melisma billow
Stumbling as tot over gritstone rock, a tyke finds her feet
more Yorkshire waters strive and meet
sheep-washing a dammed job for the youngster
She can be harsh and freeze and riffle in breeze
where Swale’s on their knee’s drink her
grey wagtail’s bob yellow, chit and thrive
Milled, wheeled and Pudsey leaped, energetic teen waters put to work
through Settle Gisburn Denham and Bolland, forded bridged and hipp-stoned
Past Fooden’s otter cave the rarely captive teenager slips through landscape
waters downhill escape, quietly moving, an occasional burble or
whispered swirl, a gently moving quiet girl
Her stony hips camouflage redshank and teetering sand piper
near kingfisher and martin’s holy banks. Shy, deceptively strong
naturally covert moving along -she’s smitten. The wild Hodder
industrial Calder and Belisima all wed near Mitton. Unquestioned
she rides Sale Wheel overt before Ribchester’s Roman ford
winding deep as cormorant’s fish, she’s wider, mature and lish
Belisima Ribble quietly broods with certain moods
she can giggle and laugh along the path and boil
in swollen rage. She will dance in fun, potter and run from
mountain issue to old age, coloured brackish
or clear, when the heavens come down she’ll turn
builder tea brown, flooding fascinating fear
The tide rips up a bore as curlew, oyster catcher and snipe probe mud
Thousand’s feed breed and nest round muddy reed
geese - red legged and brent witness Belisima Ribble’s
marshy manifold un-robe, Southport to St Annes
exhausted and spent, she lopes away - to suckle the Irish sea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Extinct Today

by John Grey
So what in the world's gone now,
what forest, stream or maybe
parking lot, housing estate,
acquired its unknown absence.
No scrape, no whistle,
no pouncing on some tiny woodland
creature that has no clue how
much safer life's become.
Who marks down these things?
Who listens for the unheard echo?
Imagine it. Entire populations
of living creatures gone like some people.
No, you can't imagine it.
You don't know what to imagine.
So where’s the smooth handfish?
What about the harlequin frog?
Has anyone seen the stubfoot toad?
Or the spined dwarf mantis?

Now if you only had the corpse.
But no one knows one's needed.


by Douglas J. Lanzo

last elephant
lurks at forest’s edge
disappearing with the trees


by Lynne Goldsmith

fireflies flashing bright
cold light dusk
summer magnolia trees

Consumption Advisories

by H. W. Day

Asiatic honeysuckle
stems breath & water,
life, & the twining vine of sweet death.

& such sweet death
appropriates a trolling misery
when fish are feeling lunar.
Below the glinted Tallapoosa
a $5 spinnerbait snags a Christmas tree
sunk the Winter prior. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023


by Lynne Goldsmith

eurasian doves
nest in blue spruce tree


by Carl Mayfield 

cooper's hawk swoop--
     eurasian collared dove


by David Josephsohn

gulls and garbage
we embrace 
on the beach

Friday, May 5, 2023

Rio Grande

by Eavonka Ettinger

Rio Grande
beside the north tree
teens drinking 

Vistula River, Poland

by petro c.k.

end of winter
a straw effigy
floats away