River Night

We float in Rio Caliente
and consider the stars.
We swim slowly now and then,
our muscles and bones soak in warmth.
    My daughter leaves us
disapproving of older women skinny dipping,
laughing together at midnight.
we talk about Ireland and
share old stories of the troubles.
    Obsidian hills surround us here,
the jacarandra tree is heavy with purple bloom.

By Elaine Reardon

steam rises from warm water in river


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

Photo by the author

Water Marks on Sand

Along the river bed as I walk, my left
hand leads toward water that receives sky
on its surface. Clouds and blue, wind
shivers the image. Drawn to the lightly
unfocused, I begin to understand:
I prefer the potential uncertainty gives.

River banks slope down as land gives
into the pull of water’s force, sand left
fixed as levels of surrender. They stand
in their geometry until the next storm when sky
will dump a watery flood no dirt can lightly
resist. Sand and water the playground of wind.

What stays, what goes? Weather winds
tangling tendrils around leaf and stem, gives
roots the shivers. Uncaring, it affords little light
to birches or oaks in a winter grip. What’s left
alive will not, however, be decided by the sky.
If Earth can mend its line to sun, the plant will stand.

I like a bridge, the in between, yet understand
it’s a man-made thing, a construct that wind
could eventually dismantle with years of sky
and worms and human neglect. Still, it gives
me pleasure to stand on the planks, my left
hand tracing waves as they move the light.

If allowed abundant water and right light,
aspens would form so thick a stand
I couldn’t pass through. I’d be left
needing an ax, or simply listening as wind
blew leaves into melody that would give
me reason to stay there under the sky.

I want to live in present tense, each sky
revealing my mind to myself, the way light
never grows stale. What I love is given
me the way a tumbling stream understands
there can be no holding back, or how wind
sprays mist onto my skin and I’m left,

surprised, new. Moss gives off chartreuse light,
a glow under a gray sky. What’s left for me to know?
I stand in the answer, my breath a small wind.

By Grace Marie Grafton

path with wooden bridge by the river


Grace Marie Grafton is the author of six collections of poetry, which can be reviewed on Amazon’s site. Grafton_Whimsey_CoverShe lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a redwood tree outside her kitchen door and a native live oak next to her deck. Nearby are red squirrels, raccoons, salamanders, and (never seen) mountain lions. Other of her nature poems can be found in Canary (online), Peacock Journal (online), Third Wednesday, Poecology and The Common Ground Review. Her book, Whimsy, Reticence and Laud: unruly sonnets, is rooted in her love of nature. She has taught for decades with CA Poets in the Schools, frequently taking her grade school students outdoors for their poetry lessons.

Photo by NejroN.

At The Falls, Again

A broken tree’s not made it past the falls.
It’s caught and angled from the river bed
to where the river plunges down and all
the river’s glass is smashed across the edge
to witch’s hair that’s white as fire’s ash,
regathered then, gone dark again as lore
within the water’s falling roar that has
no pause since it’s the constancy of more.
It sounds like rain, the white noise that the heart
endures, the storm between our words that words
just barely mask, the background drone that starts
when life begins and blossoms into birds
and wind, the everything that has no rest
because it lives and life demands no less.

By Ed Hack

 wagner falls in autumn, with caught logs


I’ve been writing poems from the age of 16, when the world opened up to me and the only way to say what had occurred was in a poem. I wrote free verse for years, was published here and there, then, three years ago, I felt the need for the discipline of metered language and structure, so I turned to the sonnet. In some ways, the sonnet mimics the mind in certain moods—something is seen or felt and the what and how and why are then worked out through phases of discovery which the sonnet provides a model for. Sometimes, with luck and work that actually happens. I’ve been published in Poetry South, Forage Poetry, Hapax, Going Down Swinging, Adelaide Literary Magazine, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Dunes Review, Algebra of Owls, Autumn Sky Poetry.

Photo by Le Do

Doubling Back

woman hiking along riverThe Valency Valley beckons me inland, eastwards, across what I remember was a meadow behind the row of shops, and is now a car park. The ground is tightly netted and gabionned against the vandal fingers of water. I’m soon walking through an aisle of trees, alone on a quiet path that follows the north bank of the river. A duck flies low and fast ahead of me, embodying purpose. Like the jets I see skimming the locks at home, it adjusts its angle in expert increments to steer the central course of the winding river, then disappears around a bend. But this flight defines the landscape as miniature; a narrow valley with secret corners. A scale and nature I’m here to re-learn.

Doubling Back: ten paths trodden in memory by Linda Cracknell, Freight Books, 2014.
Photo by Goran Bogicevic

Current

The fast moving stream
has slowed to a dull lumbering
movement, the waters
shuffle and scuffle by, a calm
lull of sound

This is the place I held
on while we waded, unaware
of who I would be, what
life would bring

Dew on the grass, chirping
all around us, the lap
of water offering a constant
natural baptism.

By JD DeHart


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His poems have appeared in Gargouille and The Other Herald, among other publications. DeHart blogs at JD DeHart – Feature Poems.