Thursday, October 29, 2015

Piece of Quartz

by Taylor Graham

Glittering in autumn light, it recommends
silence. This October morning,
everything seems to wait like the loneliness
of stones. The dry creek dreams
of sipping water in tiny song. Rain leaves it
alone. Sun sublimates the water-dish
put out for lizards and frogs, too shallow
a trough. No matter to stones,
a decade of drought. Crystal remembers
the longest tales. How young
these creekbanks, undercut, re-carved
each time a flood tears out fences,
overwhelms the swale, digs up old bones.
Ancient naturalist, this stone.

Green House Harvest

by Ed Higgins

Rich tilth of organic mushroom compost
     from the large pile near the barn. Delivered
twice yearly from the mushroom farm
     two miles upwind from us.

An attentive courtesy for when summer breezes
     drift our way, bringing dark scents of mixed
 straw and chicken manure. This morning’s harvest
     snap peas, beets and lemon tomatoes

growing in this fertile medium. Through my
     fingertips I diligently fill my garden trug:
peas first, then beets (shaking off the soil), finally
     lush yellow tomatoes from fruit-heavy vines.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


by Carl Mayfield

after the storm
     two pears


by JS Absher

late October
in the bend of the river
one red tree

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Anticipating winter

by Ed Higgins

Today there are definite signs:

grey sky and clouds
their core dark as sorrow

torrent rain driven aslant
against the barn’s side

swollen Yamhill creek
furious with water

another v of geese
over the farm this morning

the plowed field soggy underfoot
fixed on distant May

a hawk hung in chill October air
like a narrow winged thought.


by Terrence Sykes

maple tree
from fallen
caraway harvest
obsidian wings
feathered flock
wild mustard
dancing amongst
evening breezes

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Filling The Silo

by Joyce Lorenson

from every farm
up and down the valley
the long drawn out whine
of corn choppers
still air in
a state of fermentation
flurries of fodder fall
from the auger
a ripe liquor drains
from the trembling chute
the season's harvest
from the cows
a flush of fresh milk

Long shadows cross the fields

by Maury Grimm

Long shadows cross the fields, gold against the grey sky. The days shorten with a color so intense even the cottonwoods stark green and intricate blacks of branches stand like sculptures in the slow evening light.

The chickens scratch about in the garden. I talk to them through the open window. We have made some sort of bond now, even Łizhiní cocks his head when I speak to them. I tell him he is a good boy and he relaxes, closes his eyes. He is an amazingly good rooster.

The wind is up now. The newly planted hoop with winter vegetables shivers and the sudden cold makes me think of closing windows.

But I am not ready yet, to close out the wind, the light.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Aspen Trail

by David Chorlton

Summer’s ending in the forest
with its secret ferns and warblers
whose songs come from deeper
than light can reach;
                              ending on the meadow
in high country
that sways between aspens and pines,
and on the path
                          worn into grass
along the way to the edge
with a raptor’s view down:
                                     a panorama
held tight in a claw.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


by Terrence Sykes

crickets & cicada
chant autumnal
secular vespers

Wild Fire

by Marilyn Braendeholm

Fire takes its opportunities.
Wind-burning-whipped bridges 
of smoke on rising spinets of fury. 
Rise and fall, flakes of flame and ash 
scattering weather, then swept
and settled to fall scorched. And 
as fire grows, the wind sings dark. 
The heat endured but not so darkness, 
nor that noise. Aerolites fall into 
throaty pits, as fire draws darkness 
in its parchment heart.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Eleven Suicide Seeds

by Taufiq Abdul Khalid

Where are the rivers mighty?
Where are the lakes serene?
Where are the bears hibernating?
Where are the badgers biting?
Where are the meadows blooming?
Where are the fishes in the sea?
Where are the lions in the plains?
What have you done to them all?
Now who will you seek to blame?
What have you wrought in your greed?
What have you sown in the fields?
I hate but ate your answers!
These suicide seeds,
Your suicide seeds,
Your Suicide...and
Now.... mine.

Full Moon

by Doug Draime

rain drops
on tulips

dark red
as roses

Swamp Psalm of the Water Sprite

by Karla Linn Merrifield

The Fakahatchee is my shepherdess;
I shall not want for canopied swamps.
She maketh me to submerge below profligate
fronds and tendrils.
She leadeth me into still waters.
She restoreth my arid hope.
She leadeth me along slow flowing
strands of wildness for her faith sake.
Yea, though I wade through the valley
in the shadows of fishing spiders
beside alligator ponds, I fear not greed,
for thou, green queen, art with me, in me.
Thy sword ferns and ghost orchids
do comfort me.
Thou preparest a cypress stand before me
in the cool space of my heart.
Thou annointest my soul with dew.
My dream runneth over in liquid light.
Surely chlorophyll and oxygen
shall follow me all the breaths of my life
and I shall dwell in thy habitat
of epiphyte, lichen and moss—forever.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A prism of light

by Maury Grimm

A prism of light graces the San Juans over La Manga pass to the West as the sun breaks through the clouds, a shard. Winter birds line the wires and the horses head to the watering trough.

This overcast sky makes the morning warm as I slip out, bare-toed, to the chickens who are not yet roused awake.

This may be a day of more inside than out, but there is the catching up on cleaning garlic, storing potatoes, stripping the leaves and flowers of the dried herbs, clearing and organizing for the next round of tomatoes, rose hips, marigold and calendula flowers. And maybe after this round of rain, the mountains will proffer another round of mushrooms to dry.

And when to plant the garlic, lay down the red clover seed on the worn potato bed? Another day. Another day.

Valleys of Life, Echoed

by Laurie Kolp

The gods call life
after death
life after
the calling of all things
Take innocence—
trade it
for guilt after death
after life:
the endangered one
slides down mountain
to death valley
and lives.

Burial for Seamen

by Tom Sheehan

Tonight I think of Jonathan Diggs and how he salts the Atlantic, how the horse of his voice shakes the water from the underneath, cracks the rocks the small fist of Nahant left-jabs in the ocean.

The dory came riding in high and free as a cracker box, the oars gone, locks ripped away as if he had broken all his muscles on them, the anchor gone as Davy’s gift, not even a handful of line left in the loop.

One inconspicuous mark gathered in the final counting: JD9. It was Jonathan’s ninth boat, and the first to outlive him, the first to come back without that oarsman.

Seventy-year old men do not swim all night, do not ride on top like debris caught on the incoming tide, do not materialize on-shore once they are that wet.

They go down like Jonathan Diggs, shaking their fists at the Atlantic, shouting the final obscenity they have waited all this time to use, knowing the exact moment to employ it. They send a sound running along water lines, burst it into sea shells, sing it as a tone of surf busting all September nights when ocean listeners count for sailors.

They become the watery magnet pulling men from inland fields, in turn are magnetized by moon’s deep clutch on the rich pastures of the sea, and sleep then only in tight caves, soundless and dark in their wearing away.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

U.S. 50

by Karla Linn Merrifield

A smooth satin road unspools
across the corrugated torso
of Nevada in summer morning,
light rising in a state of cloudlessness.

It unfurls through sage-dusted basin
and over juniper-draped range;
its length unwinds and unwinds.
Onto eight soft-shouldered summits,

into alkali flats of as many
high desert valleys, the macadam
takes on a golden patina as it rolls
above the gold of stone-studded foothills.

The ribbon twists into vast landscapes, finding:
the turquoise ore in me, the copper lode in you.

I Am Meltwater.

by Angi Holden

April’s sun blossoms the hillsides. Its gentle warmth coddles
the icy hollows, and streams dribble through tangles of couch grass.
The breeze drifts over the fells, carries the songs of distant mountains:
Scafell, Helvellyn, Skiddaw. It stirs me, spins me, swirls me.
I tumble down the rockface, gasp for air, splash and splatter against outcrops.
I grasp light and cast aside its fragments, I thrust and whirlpool:
rub, erode, abrase, before plunging on, handrailing across the geology of ancients,
landscapes scarred by wind and weather. Lower there is mud, soft as flesh,
pathways, a tracery of footprints. I am pulled into the river’s eddy,
my chill and rainwater’s sweet balm mingling, flowing, seabound.

Rain, Spark, Cycle

by Richard D. Hartwell

Up-thrust, boulder-rough hills
after late spring’s last runoff;
dirt between veins of granite,
seeded with grasses, flowers
in wild profusion, abandoned.

Such profligate plentitude makes
for a profusion of wildlife fauna:
an overpopulation awaiting their
seared starvation as brittle stubble
expires, scoured by a relentless sun.

Hills turned into fodder for fire
needing only slight provocation,
ignition from outside intervention;
flames eat all to ashen gray, stony
hills turn silver in the orange dusk.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

within Roe Wood

by Kate Garrett

your feet pound
   streets, pavements
     bus stops – the urban

  blur heading
for bluebells

   as you slip downhill
 & into the shadow

     of leaves (curled fingers
unfurling green)

   race the brook
along its obstacle

  forgotten blue
   bicycles, lawnmower
engines & plastic

     bottles without
  a single message inside


by Theresa A. Cancro

hunter's moon --
a buck blends into
the yarrow

End of Summer

by M.J. Iuppa

By dusk, swallows
disappear–  the barn door
left open a crack.

Now gunshot
marks distance,
close range.

Estranged hour
each second
a lost eyelash.

Work? Anyplace.
A stand of spruce
wears darkness.

against palette

small airs
there, there
consoles loneliness–

the clock’s click,
the moth’s

going mad
for the lamplight’s

Sunday, October 4, 2015

You have named me

by Emily Ramser

At night,
you hold me in your arms,
and whisper my name:


and when I awake,
you have named me anew
under the birth of the sunrise.


by Joanna M. Weston

fall morning …
blackberry jam


by Patricia Williams

Baskets of bridal-white begonia and container-grown
red impatiens, convey late summer lushness, yet
indicate human invasion; clumps of daylilies
bloom orange, in messy half-order.
Watery stems and fragile buds go limp,
signal an irrepressible first frost.

Patches of sunlight dapple the driveway
imposed on the land, but broken by natural ice heaving;
the mowed yard, once forest cover, remains a pathway
for undeterred deer on their way from the swamp
and turkey trains that move across north ridges.

The cat makes painful sounds, mourning his companion,
her frail old body found on the back bedroom floor
a few weeks ago, twenty-one years of greeting the dawn.


by Richard D. Hartwell

Once was beauty as the Coos and Coquille Rivers merged
into the sinuous estuarine paths emptying into Coos Bay.

Now deep-water tugs languish awaiting empty freighters as
the lumber industry falters from the ravages of clear-cutting.

Automated ply and lumber companies have driven thousands to
outlaw shake mills, poaching, weed farms, desertion, and suicide.

Late afternoon and gray scud slowly
closes out blue sky and green water,

The world turns slate and dreams are held
together by only the most tenuous breath.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Leaning into Autumn

by Rachel Nix

The cool mornings linger
in the hollows, where the land
dips and divides, waiting
for the day to arrive—

the South cannot shake
the humid breath of sunlight.


by Theresa A. Cancro

sunflower husks --
the sharp cry
of a kestrel

In Cumberland Valley

by JD DeHart

Life exists high
on the mountain, plants growing
sparse in the mouths of rock.
Bits of scrub emerge as
the slope curves down to earth.
All is verdant in  the valley.
A small pool of water
collects experience.  A community
gathers in the shadow, blotting
out the high winds and massive
snows that blow in.