Marie Creek

Smallest of flames — a spark.
Globs of white crystallized water
cling to spruce needles before
bowing to pressure in the only
direction worth mentioning.
Imagine…
Perception precedes
existence, or not.
Next to something peaceful,
at least.

By Brandon Earl MacLeod

snow covered creek and trees


Brandon Earl MacLeod is a poet, photographer, and teacher from Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada. He resides in North Spirit Lake, Ontario where he taught journalism with Journalists for Human Rights’ Indigenous Reporters Program and now works with students primarily on literacy and humanities. Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Brandon is of Métis heritage and looks up to his Auntie Connie, a watercolour artist, for inspiration. Spending time outdoors has been something of a healing process and place of discovery and his poem Marie Creek was written among the trees and creeks in the forests of northern Alberta. Much of Brandon’s poetry is written about and while surrounded by the natural world and is available, along with his selected photos and published works, at brandomaclo.tumblr.com.

Photo of snowy creek by Wildman

Buddha Nature

Not even a Bengali bride arrayed
in all her glory, with vermilion dye
boldly stroked on hands and feet, with golden
ornaments, and brilliant silken sari
has been made like the monarch butterfly
that’s stopped in my New York City community garden.

It’s got so far to go! To Mexico
is 2,500 miles or more. Can pity
be silly? The creature’s not thinking, “Oy vey, how hard!”

Close, wings, to rest and feed,
      and neither hoping
        nor not-hoping,
             open,
            proceed.

By Becca Menon

american monarch on orange flower


Becca Menon is a writer, editor and translator. See more of her work at BeccaBooks.

Photo of monarch butterfly by marimadesign

Fertile Earth

I.
In the corner of the garden
we found the perfect spot
for the damask rose “Celsiana,”
but when we dug, we hit a boulder.
I said, “Let’s plant somewhere else.”
“No,” she disagreed, “we’ll find a way.”

For two hours we dug around it,
but couldn’t get it to budge.
With a plank, we made a lever.
The two of us stood on one end
and bounced up and down
and finally felt it dislodge.

It took two planks and the two of us
working all day to dig it out:
there, at last, unearthed,
a rock the size of a coffee table.
Two women, one aging and one old–
we gaped in awe of what we’d done.

II.
With patience, forbearance, and a stubborn will,
almost any obstacle can be made to yield.

She taught me to trust myself to find a way;
she taught me to look for it close at hand.

In the rock’s place grows the sturdy rose,
whose soft pink blooms and golden stamens
delight our summers.

The rock remained, too big to take away;
transplanted ferns now shelter in its shade.

III.
All afternoon before t.he rain,
I clipped the dead hostas’ withered stems
and raked out piles of dead leaves from the beds.

Wet and chill, as if a cloud had sunk to earth,
in the strangely muffled air of November,
I listened to the chirp of a hawk circling overhead.

My body bent to my labors; my mind wandered free.
Make room! More room!

By Anne Whitehouse

flower garden with a rock


Anne Whitehouse is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Meteor Shower, her second from Dos Madres Press (2016). Her novel Fall Love has just been published in Spanish translation as Amigos y Amantes. 2016 honors include Songs of Eretz’s, RhymeOn!’s, Common Good Books’, and Fitzgerald Museum’s poetry prizes. Visit her at AnneWhitehouse.com.

Photo of garden and boulder by uulgaa.

Autumn Grey Skies

Autumn grey skies
Draw a curtain
Upon summer’s stage;
An intermission for the parched Earth.

The leaves upon the trees
Rustle in anticipation,
Awaiting the season’s show.

Slowly, the curtain parts.
Drop by drop, the performers arrive,
And the trees give the rain
A standing ovation.

By Hilary Hirtle

bare urban trees after rain


Hilary Hirtle is a freelance writer and editor. She is an avid nature enthusiast and environmental activist. She currently resides in Westerville, Ohio, US.

Photo by Nataliya Gromko

New England November

Tail end of autumn
the in-between time
bare maples branches
dry leaves scuttle

A young bear pushes his nose
into heaped up leaves
poking through for acorns
coyotes howl late afternoon
once twilight falls
barred owls call right up
until bed time

The land reads browns and greys
scattered red berries
puckered purple grapes.
Winter hasn’t emerged yet,
although she’s expected.
Garden plots are groomed
in anticipation of her arrival.

Like the tide line between sand and sea
November separates the seasons
of life pushing out of seed and egg,
then returning to ground
November holds her cards close
taking her time
waits for those last geese to fly

Listen to the water ripple against the shore
and honor Manannán mac Lir
I have not gold to skillfully beat into form
but I put an offering into to the water

By Elaine Reardon

small gold boat and cup

The gold boat is one of the gold objects from the Broighter Hoard found in Broighter, Co. Derry. It may have been an offering to the sea god, Manannán mac Lir. The photo of the gold boat is from The National History Museum in Dublin Ireland.frosted leaves


Book coverElaine is a poet, herbalist, educator, and a member of the Society of Children’s BookAuthor Photo Writers & Illustrators. Her chapbook,The Heart is a Nursery For Hope, published September 2016, recently won first honors from Flutter Press as the top seller of 2016. Most recently Elaine’s poetry has been published by Three Drops from a Cauldron Journal, MASS Poet of the Moment, and poetrysuperhighway.com. Elaine lives tucked into the forest in Central Massachusetts and maintains a blog at elainereardon.wordpress.com

Photo of frosted leaves by the author