Category Archives: Mormon nature literature

Desert Names by Mark Penny

479px-Desert_Sandwort

I don’t know the names—
No very names.
Oh, chapparal. Oh, sage.
Vague names.
Oh, cactus, tumbleweed.
Oh, scorpion.
Oh, coiled up shaker of a shaman’s bones.
Oh, crook-limbed walker on the knuckled sands.
Oh, day-lived blossom, thirsting in its death.
Oh, winged portent of the flight of breath.
Half-names,
Bright shadows
In a sun
That beats its laundry past the need of clean.
I am the rag-post.
Mummied graves
Croak the long story of my ignorance.

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Mark Penny has poetry on WIZ and Everyday Mormon Writer and in Sunstone and Dialogue, and fiction on Everyday Mormon Writer and Lowly Seraphim. He was winner of the Wilderness Interface Zone 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Admin Award, a finalist in the Everyday Mormon Writer Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest, and a semi-finalist in the 2014 Mormon Lit Blitz. He hopes the trend will bounce.

Current projects include a poetry collection, a Mormon spec fic collection, a dozen or so novels, a collaboration that will blow your spirit right out of your brain, and a unified theory of narrative.

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Photo: Desert Sandwort via Wikimedia Commons courtesy of BLM Nevada, 2013.

Tonight by Bob Gill

Alpha_Capricorni

The universe is
Cold tonight
A winter of stars
Illuminate the world
Its heaven
Full of danger
And mystery

Just tonight
An asteroid
Three football
Fields in length
Slipped by
Missed us
By 1,500,000 miles
Small margin
Experts say
Enough for us
For now, maybe
Before one hits

We live and die
Hearing the stories
Of our ancestors
Similar tribes before
Us and we wander
Days and nights

Abiding

__________________________
Find more by Bob Gill here.

Photo of Alpha Capricorni via Wikimedia Commons.

Just by Bob Gill

1280px-GeysirEruptionNear

Just a moment
Sipped
Full of happiness
Just an instant
You may have missed
Compared to drought
The water
Of life pours over you
In a torrent
Underground
For centuries
It seems
And may have been
To bubble forth
And thunder
True

________________________
Bob Gill resides in Berkeley, California.

Photo of the Strokkur Geyser in Iceland by Andreas Tille via Wikimedia Commons.

Orange Cup Coral by A.J. Huffman

Cup coral polyp

Phallic shafts shock nocturnal
waters, wave fingers like fireworks,
flags of welcome, of final embrace
to small fish daring to flutter about
these make-shift flowers.
They are their own
entertainment, brilliantly blowing,
blooming in belligerent pantomime
of lighted breath. This crown
ring of kings rejoice in banishment,
openly celebrating their midnight world.

_________________________________________
Photo by Nick Hobgood via Wikimedia Commons, 2005.

Follow the links for Huffman’s bio and more of her work at WIZ.

The Road to Thunder Road by A.J. Huffman

Lightning8_-_NOAA

is a delayed growl standing several
steps behind the starring flash. Backup-
singing, supportive round of applause. Darker
partner waiting in invisible wings. Eruptive
echo marks the distance to point
of contact, countdown after-strike.

_______________________________________________
Photo by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via Wikimedia Commons, 2005.

Follow the links for Huffman’s bio and more of her work at WIZ.

Hibiscus Blooming in Rain by A.J. Huffman

hibiscus

The garden sogs under persistent downpour. Green
grows with a sickly gray clinging like shadows,
cloud contamination. In a quiet corner, lone
hibiscus stretches petals toward sky, embraces
drops battering against brilliance. Resilient
as the solar power color emulates, it remains open,
a burst of warming reassurance that the sky cannot fall
forever.

_________________________________________________________
Photo by the poet. Follow the links for Huffman’s bio and more at WIZ.

Autumn Moon by A.J. Huffman

89_Mesa_Fire,_5_6_10_(4586426977)

after “Age of Abundance,” by Osnat Tzadok

Flares of imaginary fire burn across forest’s crown.
Light and leaves come alive, collectively breathe
in mirrored mist, rising like smoke from absent flame.
My eyes begin to water in belief. This is the image
of sulfured Hell. I pray for the salvation of sun-
rise.

______________________________________________________
A. J. Huffman A.J. Huffman has published seven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her eighth solo chapbook, Drippings from a Painted Mind, won the 2013 Two Wolves Chapbook Contest. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Photo by Albert Herring via Wikimedia Commons: “89 Mesa Fire, 5/6/10.” Tzadok’s landscape can be seen here.

On Finding the Great Witley Church by Karen Kelsay

great witley church

We saw your massive golden dome from down
below, a baroque body oddly out
of place. I snapped your picture by the brown
limbs hanging near the roadside fence, devout
 
old guards, one hundred years had left behind.
We leaned across your speckled balustrades
beside the river, where worn paths entwined
and crisscrossed near the watery cascades.
 
Then, hiking grassy slopes around the charred
magnificent old court, adjacent to
your holy place, we found a heavy door.
Surprised at how we easily slipped through,
 
we scramble in like heathens, unaware.
Inside were angels winged with elegance.
Subdued by stained glass, carvings, heaven’s air,
we marveled at your ancient relevance.
 
The pious moment passed, and then I thought
of all the souls who sat within your pews;
the offerings and sadness that they brought.
Your wood grain’s worn, as if it might transfuse

into a blemished song, or ancient phrase,
that mutely sings of suffering and praise.

____________________________________________________
Photo by the poet, used with permission. For a recent bio of Kelsay, go here. For a comprehensive list of her poems published at WIZ, go here.

Hard Head Diver by Karen Kelsay

dad diving

He keeps his diving helmet in a shed.
The memories that it buoys up, aren’t dead—
that heavy hat of bolts protects his pride.
He seldom ever has to look inside
the wooden crate beneath the old work bench,
where all his man-things: chisel, hammer, wrench,
as if in dry dock, wait to be reused.
His wife told him to toss it, he refused.
You’re eighty-five, you’ll never need that thing!
But somehow, he can never seem to bring
himself to entertain the thought. The brass
is surely worth a fortune, and the glass…
The chance is slim, but yet he still regards
an abalone dive as in the cards.

______________________________________________________
Photo is of the poet’s father, and is used here by permission. For more by Kelsay at WIZ, please see the bio here, and a comprehensive index here.

Love in Winter by Laura Craner

FL_Cape_Henry_Trail_with_a_Blanket_of_Snow_(5304103522)

Your expectations are brisk,
Like December’s chill as it sneaks under the door.
Your needs are persistent,
Like a child’s breath on wintry windows, which
Creeps and spreads like nighttime secrets:
Whispered wishes freezing
Molecules, and moments, into memories.

Your words, like snowflakes in tree branches;

Your thoughts, like snowdrifts, cloud my eyes:

Encroaching, enfolding, encasing, enclosing.

Like the first blanket of winter, you
Transform my heart’s topography.
Glistening on worn out things while
Masking and obscuring autumnal death,
You make cold feel like warmth.
Death and sleep are sometimes not so different.

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laura craner headshotLaura Hilton Craner is a single mother of four who occasionally moonlights as a writer and poet. Her essays, reviews, blog posts, and stories have appeared in Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah, and A Motley Vision, where she occasionally moonlights as a contributor.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons by an unnamed Virginia State park interpreter.