Creek Water

This evening, I walk down through
the bracken ferns, and passing
between the hemlock and beech
trees, I find the worn path that leads
down the bank to the sandbar.

The water is slow here, and the
surface looks like glass, except
for where the mountain laurel
brushes the surface, creating
ripples as the branches dip into
the cold water as it flow beneath
the undercut bank on the other
side.

I watch three minnows, wriggling
in the shallow water at the end
of the shoal where I am standing.
I kneel in the wet sand and muck
and with both hands, cup cold
creek water and let it run through
my fingers and shake the droplets
like rain on the surface.

When I was a boy, I would drink
from these cold waters, on hot
summer days on expeditions in
this same patch of dense woods,
but I would not risk it now, time
has muddied this water, slowed
its course with silt and mud,
covering the smooth stones
that once lined its bottom.

The sun is sinking, last light
reflecting off slow, stained water.
I wash the sand from my fingers,
and brush off my knees, staring
down into the depths once more.
I see my reflection, and in my eyes,
the creek water always flows.

By Joshua Lanier

reflections in creek water


On my daily walks, I often make my way to the creek bottom that I explored as a boy. These waters have healing properties, and I draw from them in my work, no matter what the subject. This creek is a point of reflection for me. The natural world is always the centerpiece of my work, whether it be fiction, essays, or poetry. My blog can be found at Wildcat Creek Journal.

Photo of creek in Marin County, California, by Neil Lockhart

Seeking Warmth

Arctic wind causes the bones to ache, and drives the sap down deep into the
roots of trees, leaving only gray skeletons swaying in the wind-
a dance of cold, of Winter death.

A bright male cardinal visits my feeder, picking through to find sunflower
seeds. His mate has made a warm nest for them, with sticks and grass and pine
needles, tucked away in thick brush behind my barn.

Far off, down in the swamp, I hear
the honking of geese, congregating for a frigid night underneath the stars.
Soon, the geese will draw their feet underneath them, and tuck their beaks into
their protective wings.

Making quick work of my evening chores, I shudder at the sound of the wind, and
I shiver at the biting cold. I am standing on the promise of a hot fire inside,
and a comfortable chair by the hearth, where I can hold my warm cup.

By Joshua Lanier

rural house with a fence in winter


The natural world is always the centerpiece of my work, whether it be fiction, essays, or poetry. My blog can be found at Wildcat Creek Journal.

On a Fall Walk through the Woods

What The Flower Does

Consider that the flower blooms by itself
It needs no instruction on how to open
And does not want for attention to do so
Just displaying the colors, just doing what
It does best just because that’s what it
Does


Hearts-a-Bursting

Hearts-a-Bursting in the woods on the edge
Of a country yard
Red fruit hanging from open pods, twins
Love showing there
All through the woods, up the hillside grows
These woody-stemmed plants
In abundance they grow here, spreading
Love to all who see them


Wooly Worm

Brown fuzz with a streak of black hairs
This year there is no white like last
Crawling slow across the ground
Counting the days until the winter
Out of sight under leaves of grass
Keeping from the grasp of birds
A sign of changing season like the seed
Of the persimmon fruit that when cut
Reveals the severity of winter’s coming.

By Josh Lanier

path at the edge of the woods


These 3 poems were written in early fall, on one of my daily walks through the woods on my property. I go there to seek solitude and inspiration. The natural world is always the centerpiece of my work, whether it be fiction, essays, or poetry. My blog can be found at Wildcat Creek Journal.

Photo of path on the edge of the woods by Jon Bilous