Photosynthesis: A Leaf is like a Treasure Chest

watercolor of treasure chest

In summer time the giant trees are dressed
In robes of green so beautiful and bright.
Each leaf is like a tiny treasure chest
That reaches up to catch the golden light.

The wavy rays that shine through waxy skin
Get caught in sticky rooms the shade of jade,
Where pearly beads of water gleam and grin
And piles of misty, silver sky are laid.

The sparkling light then casts a magic spell
That turns the rain and sky to sugar stew,
Which nourishes a sapling’s every cell
Until it grows to tower over you…

So giant trees are made by magic gold
When caught by little leaves, so green and bold!

By Jacquelyn Healy

watercolor of trees in park


Jacquelyn Healy earned her BFA in Art History from Brigham Young University, Utah, US, and is currently earning her master’s degree at the Bread Loaf School of English. She lives with her husband and two children in Massachusetts, US. This poem is part of a series of books-in-progress by Jacquelyn Healy. The series marries the poetic and the scientific so that nature’s exciting and beautiful secret processes are understandable to children ages 5-9.

Original art by Anna Peterson. Visit her on Instagram @annapetersonart.

Forest Bathing

Intermittent cheeps and squawks
an occasional long trill comes at dawn
in mist and drizzle.
An ancient oak stands on the west bank
in a courtyard protected on three sides
by walls of the church and bell tower,
open to the Hudson River and sunrise.
Two centuries before Holy Cross
and the brothers came, this tree stood,
a third century has passed in company
of chants, prayers and meditation.
Twisted and gnarled old limbs
laden with moss fur and gray green lichen
carry a green memory of summer year round.
Woods buffer the water, the approach to the grounds.
A meadow rises up the hillside from the river,
its sloping banks, arms of land around the monastery.
Twigs flower with fronds of gold rust and lime,
new buds gentle my forest bathing
this rainy day that holds the sun cloud wrapped
and keeps local boats docked.
A rackety clack and whistle of the shoreline train
mixes with birdsong in the grand silence
broken by the resonant gong of the bronze bell,
a call to matins at the monastery. I go
and chant in morning with the brothers.

By Ingrid Bruck

bare oak by monestary


Ingrid Bruck lives in Pennsylvania Amish country, a landscape that inhabits her writing. A retired library director, she writes short forms and pieces. Current work appears in Unbroken Journal, Eunoia, Peacock Journal, W.I.S.H and Entropy. Published poetry appears at ingridbruck.com

Photo by the author

Military Move to Georgia

The sky’s eyelid unseals in the east,
unlacing tree lashes across the horizon.
A star slopes the dome of cornflower expanse
beside the sinking spirit of morning moon.

Blurry-eyed, she writes from the passenger side.
Their youngest points out, spaceship!
at a rusty silo ready to launch by the road
behind low wires strung on poles holding a field in.

They plan to settle roots outside town,
where live oak line longleaf pine and forest sky.
She awaits waking to rose light on their pillows
and journaling in the breeze of a new porch swing.

Though she dozes she is sowing her family of boys
to gather them in with him at the harvest—
teaching them to arise purposefully into their lives,
to rejoice in accomplishing their fullness of days.

By Catherine Zickgraf

wooden swing hanging on large live oak tree


Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan, and three dozen other cities, but now her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pank, Victorian Violet Press, and The Grief Diaries. Her new chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press and is available on Amazon.com.

Photo by Lindsay Helms

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.

Oaklands

Grandfather oaks dangle
Spanish Moss beards,
prop themselves upright
on time-twisted knuckles.

Overhead, tawny hawks float,
glide in broad, lazy circles.
Squirrels chirp the alarm,
dive underground to take cover.

White sage, silver chaparral frame
bloomed out clumps of lavender lupine.
Fairy Lanterns unfold like pale stars
beside Sticky Monkey, Pearl Everlasting.

Across golden meadow,
past an exclamation of scarlet Paint Brush,
beneath wild mustard snarl,
a muscular gopher snake pulses.

By Jennifer Lagier

Pathway under spreading oak branches


The author, Jennifer LagierJennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium readings. Newest books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle), Forthcoming: Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press, 2018). Her Website: jlagier.net  Facebook: www.facebook.com/JenniferLagier/ Photo by the author.