Mend

Take this stitch, this little green stitch,
take the second stitch, turn it sideways,
remember how wind blows prairie grasses
this way and that. Eases the mind,
reminds the observer about the sky
Earth lives in. Everything on the planet
more circle than line, moves zig zag.
Picture the hawk riding thermals,
think of the wave seeming forward
but pulling back. Somehow the beat of
the heart feels round as though it could be
comfortable held in the palm. Blood veins
and arteries so seldom really straight.
Think of head and eyes, junction of joint
with joint, knobs of bone and how tendons
wrap. A rope may be stretched straight but
it’s braided, strand curled over strand,
a snake can move only by twisting,
thought grows by exploding in all directions.

By Grace Marie Grafton

salsify plants in prairie


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 of salsify among prairie grasses by Weldon Schloneger.

A Language of Lineage

A language of lineage rather than explanation
―Melissa Kwasny

The chut-chut-chirp of a bird outside my window
does not explain the mechanism of bird-sound,
its wings are not a treatise on aeronautics.
Listen
and you will enter day, tree, breath.
You will breathe.
Watch
and be lofted, feathered into sky.
You’ll say to your questioning three-year-old,
‘It’s not so important to know the how
as it is to be the how.’
Then play the pretend-game again.

Do you understand root and worm
or do you, through them, experience not needing
eyes?
A blanket is a path to an ancestor
who held in her hands the gift of wool,
a blanket introduces a lover’s skin,
a piece of soap speaks the language of dawn,
look at your washed hand, it’s the same as
seven AM.

By Grace Marie Grafton

child looking out window at trees


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 of child at window by maximkabb.

Who Was I

When I wore the red shirt with stitches holding down
the facings, when the shirt I wore was the red of rust
and reminded me of mountains, summer sun, the smell
of pine trees toasting or of heated human skin?

My skin, my hair full of pine needle smell
and the intimate anticipation of snow-melt water
waiting for me to enter. To enter, to dive to the rocky
bottom, waiting to tell the silent story of rocks and
creeks and place. Where I started. Where my hair
turned yellow in the sunshine, where I dove repeatedly
for the rock, to hold the rock in my hand and let it go.

How we make the repetitious rituals that bring us to
the beginning, how we float in that beginning and
recognize the place we came from and where we go,
getting there mapped in our movements,
ancient tongue we don’t speak but make,
those years before we want to say ‘I’ or ‘mine’,
when we still belong to sky.

By Grace Marie Grafton

standing on a mountain top


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 Tatiana Kostareva.

What a beautiful…

Fog, gentle and cool, claims
the air with authoritative chill,
alters day’s thermometer, dims clamor,
veils the view until I might
fear I’m blind.

‘Turn inward,’ it seems to say,
‘count your blessings.’

I cut a stem of sweet pea blooming
in my bleak garden, carry it into my
kitchen, study the delicacy of petal,
reminiscent of fog’s transparency.

What do I have inside me
to match fog’s indecisive, chilly loveliness
and the invisible beauty
of the sweet pea’s scent?

By Grace Marie Grafton

pink sweet peas against cloudy sky


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 of garden sweet peas by Juliet Photography.

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.