With Charcoal Black

i

Today I’ll travel to the swamp and wood
to do a little autumn sketching for my
painting projects during the cold winter.
As I pack my thermos and bag, I see
snail trails leaving the autumn garden.

ii

Cooler breezes beget browner grasses;
lichen and moss cover the old stone wall,
I swear a little chipmunk ran by just now.
Crows are busy in their murder covens.
The songbirds leave daily for warm skies.

iii

Smells of the forest still musty and damp
colored leaves fall, a winters quilt woven
Ice sheets now form in the ponds as geese
happily swim throughout coolish waters.
Frogs and turtles hibernate until spring.

iv

A puff on the pipe, and a sip from the flask,
take out my sketch pad from the canvas bag.
Deer moving through the hemlock swamp.
It’s time to capture, using a charcoal black,
the precious moments on this autumn day.

By Ken Allan Dronsfield

Charcoal self-portrait of the artist at work


Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet who was nominated for The Best of the Net and two Pushcart Awards for Poetry in 2016. His poetry has been published world-wide in various publications throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Ken loves thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night, and spending time with his cats Willa, Hemi and Turbo. Ken’s new book, The Cellaring a collection of haunting, paranormal, weird and wonderful poems, has been released and is available through Amazon.com. He is the co-editor of two poetry anthologies, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze and Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available from Amazon.com.

Original artwork by the author

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

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

Catskill Mountains

The moon is shining above
the trees.
Its view is clear, the
night is blazing.
Something like a dream, lifting
us toward the stars.
We walk like ghosts between
sizzling lights in the sky.

Years of drought had
not yet come,
and turned these mountains
into dust.
Streams would wash
along the slopes,
feeding whispers
into lakes.
Every blinking star becomes
a diamond on the water.
Quietly we stood on shore,
the dark pool of sky
settled down.

Some return,
counting furrows
of ravaged earth
from when the rainfalls quit.
Distant memories, fogged
then changed, emerging
into fairy tales.
The moon is shining above
the trees.
Its view is clear, but
the earth has aged.
Summers cradled to our breasts
will burn like coal to emptiness.

By Mitchel Montagna

Panorama of Catskill Mountains


Mitchel Montagna author photoMitchel Montagna is a corporate communications writer for a large professional services firm. He has also worked as a radio news reporter and a special education teacher. He is married and lives in New Jersey.

Photo of Catskill Mountains as seen from Slide Mountain by aoldman

Muir Woods at Night

Rust-colored ladybugs, clustered like grapes,
mate on horsetails that wave by a creek,
where silvery salmon spawn and leap
when the sandbar breaks at the gate to the sea.

The ladybugs have come hundreds of miles,
from valley to coast, for this singles bash.
The females are choosy: they twiddle the males,
seeking appendages padded with fat.

And all around—high in redwood burls,
on elk-clover leaves, and in the rich soil—
the meaning of life is to stroke and prod
under a humpbacked moon, dissolving in fog.

By Lucille Lang Day

Muir Woods Forest and stream


Lucille Lang Day has published ten poetry collections and chapbooks, most recently Becoming an Ancestor and Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems, which won the 2014 Blue Light Poetry Prize. She is also co-editor of the anthology Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California as well as the author of two children’s books, Chain Letter and The Rainbow Zoo, and a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story, which received a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. She received her MA in English and MFA in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and her MA in zoology and PhD in science/mathematics education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Photo of Muir Woods, California, by R.A. Lang