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.

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

New Years Day, California

Noon sun
so low but
welcome, welcome

Barbecue grate
crusted sizzle
cold to touch

Plastic tugboat
bright blue among fallen leaves
child in college

Cracked window glass
last summer’s
tennis ball

Planter box
bulbs within, stirring
days after solstice.

Wooden loveseat
rotten, unsafe for sitting
but what of love?

Chimney bricks fallen,
mishmash since the earthquake,
home to lizards

Ceramic urn
my brother’s ashes scattered,
now vintage rainwater
wiggling black nymphs

Garbage can upside down
yesterday when I lifted
turtle eggs glistened
so set back, gently
until spring

By Joe Cottonwood

chair in sunset silhouette


Joe Cottonwood has worked as a carpenter, plumber, and electrician for most of his life. Construction work may seem the antithesis of nature, but Joe would point out that birds do it, bees do it, and he tries to 99 Jobs Book Coverbuild in harmony with the environment using salvaged materials wherever possible. He is the author of nine published novels, a book of poetry, and a memoir. He lives in La Honda, California, where he built a house and raised a family under (and at the mercy of) a giant redwood trees. His most recent book is 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses. His website is JoeCottonwood.com Photo of Love Seat at La Honda is by the author.

As Snow Falls

A flock of house sparrows,
With rust and black wings
And black diamonds
Beneath short bills
Decorate twigs in the lilac bush.

By turns they flit to the feeder,
Fill on seeds
And chatter among themselves.

Out of the dark sky
A sharp shinned hawk dives.

Sparrows scatter.

The silence that follows
Reminds me to live,
As I so often need reminding,
In the present
And at least for a time,
Lay worries of future grief aside.

By John Jacobson

bird feeder on snowy day


John Jacobson lives and writes in the Catskill Mountains of New York. His writing has appeared in Kaatskill Life magazine and Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. He is working on a memoir about caregiving and nature.

Photo by Artushr

At Year’s End

Sunset at Gold Beach

Sunset is
an orange ribbon above the horizon,
fading to baby blue twilight.
The sky
gray flannel, nap side up.
The swaddling blanket
cradling the ocean at rest.

By Barbara Meier

 

Yearly Love Affair

Fall, I’m always falling for you, it’s
a yearly love affair that’s got me
forever wishing to see your beauty

I’m transfixed, with engaging thoughts
of whispering into your easy breezy ears
“don’t leave me, yet again, sweetness….”

By James Blaylock

 

foothills of colorado

a melodious voice from the reeds
as I happened to pause nearby
and, fortunately, knowing
nothing enough about anything,
I listened as it whispered
“everything is ready,
everything is as should be”
and, standing there awhile,
I smiled, and just knew
I had to write this down

By ayaz daryl nielsen

 

Reflection

I reflect upon my life,
as sparrows flutter past.

Snow drifting from an emotionless sky.

I think of my family, that
are now miles away.

Maple and oak trees have
been depleted of leaves,
squirrels are in hiding.

A lone tear streams down
my rosy cheek, it topples
into the snow, becoming
one with earth and its sorrow.

By Wayne Russell

 

Melancholy Winter

Watching the pink skies
a melancholy feel,
it’s that time of year
winter cold surreal.
Bundled up I am
walking on the white
snow blanket so bright,
to cover all tonight.
Melancholy feel
winter night is here
invigorating cold
Christmas snow sincere.

By Ana Torres

 

Tanka

I give myself to
winter, smothering the pines
with quiet snow. (The
pearl-gray sky: clouds shattering.)

I give myself to the pines.

By Tyler Mortensen-Hayes