Disciple

—after Mary Oliver

Pencils hidden in trees in case something speaks to her,
in case she is urged to respond as she wanders forest, seashore—
this patch of Province Lands packed with emblems.

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

A disciple of Thoreau ― world as cipher, subtext:
the disquieted deer, seven white butterflies,
watchful owl, battered whelk,
the world’s roots, what lies under?

Graced as it is with the ordinary.

It is sweet to wake each day, to taste sea spray,
smell the fecund earth, feel birch bark,

You are the heart of the cedars of Lebanon
and the fir called Douglas
the bristlecone, the willow.

fit onto a meditation seat of moss,
hear the cacophony of birdsong, ocean splash.

I dream at night of the birds, of the beautiful
dark seas they push through.

It is not a wide range of space that matters,
but what each part means to the whole, to the human soul.
Blackwater Pond is life ― dross, infinite, random.

Tell me what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Stilled in each moment noting connections in this palette of the varied.

Luminous as it is with mystery
and pain.

Not human society but permutations of God:
marsh lily, gull, the Truro bear.

There is only one question:
how to love this world?

Moments one knows what it is to be alive
fully and willing to live fully in the moment.

Morning by singular morning
and shell by broken shell.

By Marc Frazier
Italicized lines are from Mary Oliver.

sun shining through forest trees


Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review (forthcoming), Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He has had memoir from his book WITHOUT published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre Cobalt Magazine and Evening Street Review and Punctuate (forthcoming). He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been featured on Verse Daily. His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection titled Each Thing Touches (Glass Lyre Press) that has garnered numerous favorable reviews. His website is www.marcfrazier.org.

Photo by the author.

The Forest Calls

Eerie, yet calm and peaceful
The forest at night calls to me
It draws me in

The quiet surrounds me
It is as if I can hear the trees breathe

I use touch to find my way
Feeling the bark becomes my braille
It shares its stories

How many have walked this way before
Will the trees give up their secrets

The silver moonlight trickles
Down between the leaves
Like rays of glory

Breaking through the darkness
I become one with the woods
I am home

By Ann Christine Tabaka

person walking through dark forest


Tabaka Author PhotoAnn Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.

Photo of forest at night by andreiuc88

Wood Thrush

Wood thrush sings his heart out
The first tune I hear at daybreak
A trill so hauntingly sweet
As it softly nudges me awake

It echoes through the forest
With notes so bright and clear
Each year I await his arrival
A sure sign that spring is here

Of all the melodies in my woods
His flute-like song I love the best
It is both beautiful and eerie
As he sings with unfaltering zest

By Ann Christine Tabaka

singing thrush in dark forest


Tabaka Author PhotoAnn Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.

Photo of singing nightingale thrush in dark forest by Victor Tyakht

The Old Building Made Of Wood

I am walking into a wood
that is like an old building, crumbling
to the ground. Light spears
through where it’s not meant to.
Wind pinches the air, shaking
the summer out of the leaves
A kestrel lingers on the edge
with its ghost flapping wings.
I move with each press of foot,
feeling the hard cobbled earth
of roots and limbs. A buzzard
is pushed out of the trees,
birds separate themselves
from the wood. I become a lone
figure, walking with feet
that gain weight by losing light
each passing year.

By Gareth Culshaw

hiking rocky path through deep forest


Gareth lives in North Wales. He loves the outdoors especially Snowdonia. He is published in various magazines across the U.K. Visit his website here.

Photo by Jaromír Chalabala

With Charcoal Black

i

Today I’ll travel to the swamp and wood
to do a little autumn sketching for my
painting projects during the cold winter.
As I pack my thermos and bag, I see
snail trails leaving the autumn garden.

ii

Cooler breezes beget browner grasses;
lichen and moss cover the old stone wall,
I swear a little chipmunk ran by just now.
Crows are busy in their murder covens.
The songbirds leave daily for warm skies.

iii

Smells of the forest still musty and damp
colored leaves fall, a winters quilt woven
Ice sheets now form in the ponds as geese
happily swim throughout coolish waters.
Frogs and turtles hibernate until spring.

iv

A puff on the pipe, and a sip from the flask,
take out my sketch pad from the canvas bag.
Deer moving through the hemlock swamp.
It’s time to capture, using a charcoal black,
the precious moments on this autumn day.

By Ken Allan Dronsfield

Charcoal self-portrait of the artist at work


Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet who was nominated for The Best of the Net and two Pushcart Awards for Poetry in 2016. His poetry has been published world-wide in various publications throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Ken loves thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night, and spending time with his cats Willa, Hemi and Turbo. Ken’s new book, The Cellaring a collection of haunting, paranormal, weird and wonderful poems, has been released and is available through Amazon.com. He is the co-editor of two poetry anthologies, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze and Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available from Amazon.com.

Original artwork by the author