Woods

Sliding through arches
of elms sunshine
yellow and warm as honey.

Moss crawls over mudstone
while squirrels skip
around tree stumps.

Imagine to be a sea gull
in blue wind pushing
air through your wing.

After the long rain
pine trees bending
with cones.

Branches etch evening sky
turning razzle dazzle
purple red citron.

Leaves drop like butterflies
filling the floor of forest
with crunchy foliage.

See this snowy storm of
light quickly quietly
covering our moon tonight.

Long winters keep
greatcoats of frost
wrapped around our woods.

By Joan McNerney

gold autumn forest with sunlight and sunbeams


Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Three Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.

Photo by Taiga

Maria Elena In Brooklyn

You could tell me about the baby carriages wheeled
to cafes, bookshops, and parks,
subway rides to anywhere,
espresso, wine, teas, anything you want
because it’s all outside your door.

I could tell you how sharply the mint bites the tongue,
how sweetly the violet mingles with rose petals,
and how bitter the bite of dandelion greens.
I could tell you to watch the thorns
when you reach for the raspberries.

You could tell me how traffic hums
past your building, never stopping.
Music blares from the small restaurant,
outside tables slip around the corner of the street.

We listen for the sound of the barred owls in the late afternoon
and watch the grass shiver when a mouse slips through.
Maria, hold the sweet fern to your nose
just outside my door.

By Elaine Reardon


Book coverElaine is a poet, herbalist, educator, and a member of the Society of Children’s BookAuthor Photo Writers & Illustrators. Her chapbook,The Heart is a Nursery For Hope, published September 2016, recently won first honors from Flutter Press as the top seller of 2016. Most recently Elaine’s poetry has been published by Three Drops from a Cauldron Journal, MASS Poet of the Moment, and poetrysuperhighway.com. Elaine lives tucked into the forest in Central Massachusetts and maintains a blog at elainereardon.wordpress.com

 

Red Kite

‘Look up’, I tell my son, ‘there’s a red kite’,
‘But it looks like a bird’; a small misunderstanding,

we count time, weight shifting, breath to breath;
it hovers, dead still, sharp in profile, sky frozen,

cloud platfomed and underside down,
rooks rush around in swift screaming swoops,

it does not move or follow, held high in the air,
whole body intent on watching, for that moment,

when the prey reveals itself, into the open, possible.
Birds do not use grand gestures, wing warfare,

impatient with the thought of freefalling
to transform life into another language;

small movements, tuning mechanics, ticking over
keeping things running; it will not look away

for anything, this is not a game, the eyes recognise
shifts when they come, and it dives headlong

into the west wind, body saying almost out loud
there it is.

Gusts over greys, past steeple and structural glass,
concrete cliffs, a cityscape,

yet in the eyes, a wilderness,
the great silence, blackness; a starless sky.

By Alison Katherine Jones

Red Kite - bird of prey, wings spread in flight


Photo of Red Kite (Milvus milvus) by Jose Manuel Gelpi Diaz

On Being Observed: Three Poems

Lunch

as I open the window
releasing a fly,
spider dangles
waving legs
scolding

 

A Gentle Army of Deer

First, one fearless stag
grazing on green shoots
in the glen when on some signal
he steps to the road, followed by
five more black-tails
and a fawn hopping,
bounding big-eared
hooves and mass,
the grace of boxers,
the power of ballerinas
as we stand gaping
and then oh my god yet more,
a gentle army of deer
(eighteen, I counted)
bobbing across the road
casually vaulting the fence
to the wide meadow
pausing to nibble
as if we are insignificant.
Quite so.

 

How do birds

How do birds sound so joyful in their work?
Who taught that music?
The quack of a mallard, is it ecstasy?
The caw of crow? Squawk of jay?
Even the thrushes pecking for seeds, plucking
grasshoppers into their beaks —
how is that joy?
The grebe dives, chases trout in dark water;
her business of survival seems a spectacle of art.
White egret balanced on one leg hunting,
motionless, a tableau vivant.
The hard labor of life seems a miracle.
And when the owl with one cocked eye studies me…
What see?

By Joe Cottonwood


Joe Cottonwood has worked as a carpenter, plumber, and electrician for most of his life. Construction work may seem the antithesis of nature, but Joe would point out that birds do it, bees do it, and he tries to 99 Jobs Book Coverbuild in harmony with the environment using salvaged materials wherever possible. He is the author of nine published novels, a book of poetry, and a memoir. He lives in La Honda, California, where he built a house and raised a family under (and at the mercy of) a giant redwood trees. His most recent book is 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses. His website is JoeCottonwood.com

The Chimney Swifts

Smudge-gray swifts
glide by last night’s
gibbous ghost moon,
winged harpoons
thread themselves
through cotton batting,
link in synchronous chatter.

Wings held in a V,
the smaller swift
leads this high-pitched
aerial courtship
with snapping flaps,
banks and dives,
rises and falls in a
blissful, swirling swath.

A sudden rush
of shallow wingbeats,
the duo goes low,
bristled tails ignite
in a minor glimmer
of late morning light.

I stumble backwards,
lose my balance
in the driveway.
A darkness inside
lifts.

By Mary Katherine Creel

swift flying low and fast in morning light


M K Creel Author PhotoMary Katherine Creel lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, USA, where she has worked as a journalist, family counselor and copywriter. Her poems have been published in Paper Rabbit, Tar River Poetry, Pittsburgh Poetry Review and Avocet.


Photo of Common Swift (Apus apus) by Pakosta