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

Small Boys/Big Trees

Small boys, big trees
his short embrace barely reached
third the way round
the largest Sassafras ever
bark deep, soft, tawny
sweet tonic leaves
far above, he must wait
for one to fall, and in the wait
looking way aloft, top unseen
unknown into sky
summer clouds ships at sail
and Robins’ song, gold
sunset moments painting
shadowed bark, the windows
the warm walls inside.

Inside looking out at
Autumn leaves and
the black squirrels fast
at play around, round
and much later, that awful day
storm torn soft Sassafras
and the men who came to
fix the tree, biggest they’ve
ever seen, too bad about
the top and the boy grew
and the tree grew ill and
watched him move away.

The boy still holds the biggest
tree in morning’s rise or
setting Sun, both gone
both together.

By Don Ogden

boy climbing the tree


Don Ogden, known by many simply as d.o., has been active in environmental issues for most of his life. His poetry and commentaries have appeared in a wide variety of publications and on national and local radio. He has produced and performed in ecologically themed street theater in the Northeast for years as well. He is the producer and co-host of The Enviro Show on Valley Free Radio and co-founder of Occupy the Airwaves. His book, “Bad Atmosphere – A Collection of Poetry & Prose on the Climate Crisis” published by Levellers Press in Amherst contains decades of writing on climate issues (you can get it at Collective Copies in Amherst, MA, World Eye Books in Greenfield, MA, or at Amazon.com).

Singer/songwriters Tom Neilson and Lynn Waldron collaborated with d.o. on the song “Clearcutting the Trees” which is the soundtrack for a YouTube video d.o. produced about logging in the Quabbin Reservation. The preservation of forests, forest soils, and even individual trees in the struggle to confront climate chaos is raised often in d.o.’s work.

Photo by ZiggyMars

Autumn

Twilight arrives more rapidly.
Sunrise, chronically tardy.
Daylight’s window dwindles.

Morning chill turns noses scarlet,
decimates zinnias,
nips ungloved fingers.

Liquidamber trees flame.
Elms and sycamores
flaunt golden foliage.

Orchards blush, shed fading leaves.
Bare limbs, unburdened grapevines
slumber through winter.

By Jennifer Lagier

Red leaves among the green


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 monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle), Forthcoming: Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press, 2018).Click here to visit her website. Photo by the author.

The Plum Tree

For my grandchildren, Bella, Jett, Eleanor, Max, Emmanuel and James

Look little ones,
the leaves have turned yellow,
the sky is pure blue,
the day mild and mellow.

Look little ones,
the trees are now bare,
there’s frost in the morning
and cold everywhere.

Look little ones,
there’s buds on the trees,
flowers are blossoming
and buzzing with bees.

Look little ones,
in this blossoming blooming
the cycle of life
is forever renewing.

By Neil Creighton

drawing of a plum tree
Sketch of a plum tree in blossom by the author’s late mother, Brenda Creighton


Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It also made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work reflects strong interest in social justice. Recent publications include Poetry Quarterly, Poeming Pigeon, Silver Birch Press, Rat’s Ass Review, Praxis Mag Online, Ekphrastic Review, Social Justice Poetry and Verse-Virtual. He blogs at windofflowers.blogspot.com.au