I consider

The end of winter, when the longer rains
contract and staccato eruptions cosmetize air
with tulip sounds and grassy dashes. Lacquered sun
melts my fixed stare, the frost tough to bite through.
Blessed stumble, gregarious gate, my dream of the woman
who knows how to mend the world. Her mango-scented
glance unravels my Teutonic structure. I had thought
I eschewed submission but her irresistible delivery
of scarlet underclothes behooves me to dance.
Adjacent to Earth’s be-ribboned roots I wait four
hours, heart to ground, for my next choreography.

They say, in our times, the bats die off, bees fall ill,
I hear the death cry of their drones while polar ice
caps soften. Am I wrong to idle in delirious love of
irises’ purple? Or does it constitute hope
to shore against my species’ juggernaut?

By Grace Marie Grafton

purple crocus in the snow


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 purple crocus by Gelia

Adore

I adore the swelling of the red idea
that tempts phlox to form a four-petalled
promenade into the days of June, days of July.

Eyes’ hunger embraces, gobbles heady
respite from vulgar sidewalk safety
I otherwise consent to.

Steal myself away on unpainted days
into marriages senses insist on.
Ditch-water a chilly sweetheart

these sweat-beaded afternoons I live through —
jagged, wearing the unforgiving sleeves
of sun. I’m not finished

in the welcome glut of pages with no
particular alphabet. Ferny language
flutters in, I think plants must be

cousins to the birds, they don’t know
to flinch from meaning, don’t purposely
seclude themselves in tenderness

or spread the balm of self-pity on frond
and feather, avoid wind, cower from
rain. I want to know that

my skin will survive battering, I want
to climb over the railing, those wind poppies,
those mariposa tulips don’t grow tame.

By Grace Marie Grafton

woman is standing in the doorway looking at the garden


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 woman at the door by loganban

Turn the Page (Villanelle)

Turn the page of today into tomorrow.
Green wings and gunmetal match
in unexpected beauty. A way to know

the sweet principle that everything’s the shadow
of something else, black and white beetle to birch
or the hours of today into the minutes of tomorrow.

And if the wing is torn and metal receives a blow
that turns it dark while wing is black in patches
that turn unexpectedly beautiful, ways to know

are multiplied, if only we’ll release the credo
that insists, if we follow the rules, we’ll latch
the page of today to the book of tomorrow.

Convincing connections can be hard to follow.
Orange lichen spreads on a green rock. We watch
but can’t see it grow its beauty, can’t know

the mysterious ways to bend and bow
and twist our habits of seeing so we can catch
the slow turning of today into tomorrow
and open to unexpected beauty as a way to know.

By Grace Marie Grafton

succulent on lichen covered rock


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 Lichen and Cañon Dudleya by R Harton

Sestina

to Eliot Porter: Cottonwood Trees, Tesuque, NM

Summer heat whitens the dome of afternoon
as the shadows of cottonwoods turn blacker.
Brilliant sun presses ahead to full
dominance. Drenched in obedience,
I scurry for shade, find myself very fond
of the dark lines tree trunks raise into relief.

I sip from a water jug. The rustle of leaves,
I hope it’s a breeze to lift away afternoon’s
weight. Gazing into the green canopy, I fondly
weave it into my dulling consciousness. Almost black,
almost surrendered to sun’s rule. I am an obedient
vassal to the way summer days must go, I’m full

of sensation, skin swollen to a thin balloon full
of the sap that loves each year’s July. How relieved
the land is, to lie back and be licked by heat’s obedient
tongue as it raises into bloom earth’s afternoon
forms. The grass I rest on, the beetles I fondly
watch wobble their serious walk up the trunk’s black

cracks. The cottonwoods drop white fluff onto black
shadow made blacker by contrast to sunlight’s full
glare. It nearly glues my eyeballs into a fond
cling to the depths of their sockets, as though to leave
via a back door to the dark brain. But afternoon
penetrates through eyelids, I find myself obediently
remembering in a flash, all the bad thoughts I obediently
rinsed from my mind as I tried to change my blacker
nature into something more akin to the white fluff noon-
time rains down on my head where I recline full
of sizzle in rapidly heating shade that offers thin relief.
Four o’clock, five o’clock, sun slips out of sky’s fond

embrace, mercy granting faintly a muting I’m fond
of. I can almost feel the steely oval obediently
adopt a squishier texture, though the dusty leaves
look tireder than the hour they sprang out of black
night, when they were filled with hope for a day full
of windy tickle and water rising from roots at noon.

There’s no changing afternoon sun’s decline, long
obedient slide into sought-after relief. Last gleam leaving
fuller, blacker shadows that stretch into fond scribbles.

By Grace Marie Grafton

Click here to view the Eliot Porter photograph “Cottonwood Trees, Tesuque, NM” online at the New Mexico Museum of Art website.


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.

Decision

The trees were diseased.
They had to be felled, said the management.
That wasn’t all there was to it.
Second opinion, third opinion, fifth.
Autumn wore on, Halloween passed
with its orange promises and weird shadows.
Night was a mute flute.
No decision. Winter.
Storms concluded several branches.
“See?” said the management
as the ragged moon promoted ice.
Luckily, coolant had been put in the cars.
“Why not let the beetles have them?”
was the second opinion.
Third said, “The chain saws
are too loud.” The fifth,
“They’re in the meadow,
no threat to the house.”
Some sought asylum in silence.
Let the earth turn around.
The trees and the beetles, rain,
lightning, and insistent light
conducted their own conversations.
Spring came, one tree did not leaf out.
The beetles were ecstatic,
if beetles can be.
The children were warned,
“The tree might fall. Don’t go near.”
But children.
Fascinated by beetles, and death,
and intimate connection.

By Grace Marie Grafton

girl in pink stands on tree stump


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 girl on tree stump by Singulyarra Photography.