Blackberries ― for Nina

When we emerge from the woods
Into the open sun-soaked field
Both sides of the path
Are lined with dense thickets
Of blackberries.
We lift our granddaughter
Out of the stroller
And the three of us get to work
Seeking out the blackest, softest
Knobbly little packages
Of sweetness and inner light
And popping them into our mouths.
Oh, is it not a wondrous world?
On these outings
The little girl’s attention span
Determines our schedule and itinerary
So we wait for her to decide
When to move on
And continue picking and eating
For several more minutes
Until she figures
She’s been pricked and poked enough
And it’s time to go.
As we are leaving
She picks a few more berries
This time green ones
That she can hold in her hand
As we walk.
She is a collector
Of all manner of outdoor treasure –
Seeds, leaves, wildflowers
Feathers, acorns, rocks –
And a handful of small hard unripe blackberries
Is quite a prize.
May it always be so.

By Buff Whitman-Bradley

girl picking berries


Buff Whitman-Bradley’s poetry has been published in many print and online journals including Atlanta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Crannog, december, Hawai’i Review, Pinyon, Rockhurst Review, Solstice, Third Wednesday, Watershed Review, and others. He has written several books of poems, including When Compasses Grow Old, To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World, and Cancer Cantata. He was the producer of the Courage to Resist Audio Project and co-producer of two documentary films, Outside In and Por Que Venimos. He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.

Photo of girl picking berries by maximkabb.

Misty Dreams

In stealthful shadows,
the pensive pilgrim
pauses for a moment…
nature whispers
to his searching soul…
a twilight adieu

By Karen O’Leary

wanderer on misty forest road


photo of the author

Karen O’Leary is a writer and editor from West Fargo, North Dakota, USA. She has published poetry, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues including, Frogpond, A Hundred Gourds, Haiku Pix, Sharpening the Green Pencil 2014, Now This: Contemporary Poems of Beginnings, Renewals and Firsts, Creative Inspirations, and Poems of the World. She currently edits an online poetry journal called Whispers.

Photo of misty road by Petar Paunchev

Squirrel Convention

In the wetlands, I observe
five squirrels on a stump,
a curious rodent convention
surrounded by blooming mustard,
golden grasses and thistles.

One functions as lookout,
scans the skies for hunting hawks.
Spooked by leashed dogs,
my innocuous trespass,
he barks a warning to his companions.

The disturbed colony chirps,
disbands to take cover.
Furry streaks disappear underground,
their conclave interrupted
by my clumsy morning meander.

By Jennifer Lagier

Squirrels standing on giant tree stump


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).Click here to visit her website. Photo by the author.

Two Poems

Nights of Early Spring

Nights of early spring, when evening,
With its scent of wattle, earth-warming,
Yields to the deep sky of stars,
The gusting, freezing, wild wind.

The year awakes and, before bird-song,
Flowers, the strength of sunshine,
The emptiness of longing, emptiness
Of night, marks the turn.

By John Leonard

 

Every Wood-Lane

You walk down every wood-lane—
Always in spring, when blossoms lift
In the wind, finches call—
And this is your gift, straying
Apart; yet what do you have
For those who are not with you?

Their sight is as keen, but does not
See what you see, reckon
What you know, they,

And their knowledge, cannot be apart
  From yours, must see
The boughs, smell the damp woods.

By John Leonard

couple walks on path under trees


John Leonard was born in the UK and came to Australia in 1991. He completed a PhD at the University of Queensland and was poetry editor of Overland from 2003 to 2007. He has five collections of poetry. His Think of the World: Collected Poems 1986-2016 is available from lulu.com. His poetry has been translated into French, Croatian, Spanish and Chinese and published in those versions. Read more of his work at John Leonard’s Literary Pages.

Photo of wood lane by satori

Nighthawk

In the steel heat of a monsoon sky
thunder wells up inside
the clouds: dark noise
wrapped in waiting
for the first rain since the doves
arrived from their tropical
winters. Along the wash

the walking trail’s a trickle
of dry concrete
flanked by grass and gravel
all the way to where the houses
turn to desert
and the nighthawk sleeps.
The inner light of trees

illuminates the street
as the sun falls low behind them
and the sky displays
a palette ranging gray
to cumulous white with a gilded
edge. Against the oncoming
dark, the palm fronds

become a green not
of this Earth, and for a moment
an Apocalypse glows
in the eucalyptus, but each day
ends like this when storms
are building out of reach
and darkness is a pointed wing.

By David Chorlton

nighthawk on fencepost


David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications on- and off-line, and reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. His newest collection of poems is Bird on a Wire from Presa Press, and late in 2017 The Bitter Oleander Press will publish Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant.

Photo of common nighthawk by Steve Byland