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

Iced Water

The stagnant water
invites the falling colors,
which ice the lake
like frosted cake.
A rainbow of autumn
is gentle in demeanor,
and I long to sit on shore
until the colors fade.

A slice of iced water
entices me to sample
the frosting
and celebrate my 70th birthday,
which nearly passed me by.

By Harding Stedler

 autumn leaves floating in the water


After graduating valedictorian of his high school graduating class, Harding Stedler went on to earn his B.S. in Ed., M.S in English Education, and his Ph.D. in English Education as well. He taught writing courses under the umbrella of the English Department in universities where he taught. In 1995, he retired from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, with 34 years of service. He now makes his home in Maumelle, Arkansas, and is an active member of the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas as well as the River Market Poets in Little Rock.

Photo by PixPhoto

Light Show

Sunlight played on the forest floor
dappled through the trees.

Bright emerald patterns
against lush darker hues,

strobing like nature’s neon light show.
A captivating event to behold.

Alternating waves of
light and shade
dancing on beams of joy.

An enchanting world
of imagination and delight.

Afternoon hours
wandering woodland paths.

By Ann Christine Tabaka

pathway through autumn forest


Tabaka Author PhotoAnn Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.

Photo of autumn forest pathway by Derek Audette

Ghost Orchid

Those few weeks of summer
after the sphinx moth strokes you with its tongue,
your slender white petals float from thin stems,
drifting in air, no leaves for a partner,
while your dark roots, barely visible, cling
to cypress, pop ash, or pond apple trees,
never touching ground, never appearing
connected to the earth.

By Robin Wright

White Ghost Orchid flower


Robin Wright lives in Southern Indiana. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Muddy River Poetry Review, Indiana Voice Journal, Street Light Press, Eunoia Review, Peacock Journal, Unbroken Journal, (b)OINK zine, Rat’s Ass Review, and others. Two of her poems were published in the University of Southern Indiana’s 50th anniversary anthology, Time Present, Time Past. She has also co-written two novels with Maryanne Burkhard under the name B. W. Wrighthard, Ghost Orchid and A Needle and a Haystack. Available on Amazon.

Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) by Mick Fournier, Pompano Beach, Florida, Wikipedia Creative Commons.

Disciple

—after Mary Oliver

Pencils hidden in trees in case something speaks to her,
in case she is urged to respond as she wanders forest, seashore—
this patch of Province Lands packed with emblems.

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

A disciple of Thoreau ― world as cipher, subtext:
the disquieted deer, seven white butterflies,
watchful owl, battered whelk,
the world’s roots, what lies under?

Graced as it is with the ordinary.

It is sweet to wake each day, to taste sea spray,
smell the fecund earth, feel birch bark,

You are the heart of the cedars of Lebanon
and the fir called Douglas
the bristlecone, the willow.

fit onto a meditation seat of moss,
hear the cacophony of birdsong, ocean splash.

I dream at night of the birds, of the beautiful
dark seas they push through.

It is not a wide range of space that matters,
but what each part means to the whole, to the human soul.
Blackwater Pond is life ― dross, infinite, random.

Tell me what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Stilled in each moment noting connections in this palette of the varied.

Luminous as it is with mystery
and pain.

Not human society but permutations of God:
marsh lily, gull, the Truro bear.

There is only one question:
how to love this world?

Moments one knows what it is to be alive
fully and willing to live fully in the moment.

Morning by singular morning
and shell by broken shell.

By Marc Frazier
Italicized lines are from Mary Oliver.

sun shining through forest trees


Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review (forthcoming), Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He has had memoir from his book WITHOUT published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre Cobalt Magazine and Evening Street Review and Punctuate (forthcoming). He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been featured on Verse Daily. His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection titled Each Thing Touches (Glass Lyre Press) that has garnered numerous favorable reviews. His website is www.marcfrazier.org.

Photo by the author.