Category Archives: Love and nature

Putting Up Peaches by Merrijane Rice

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_De_roze_perzikboom_-_Google_Art_Project

Beside the garden wall where grapevines run,
a peach tree stands, diseased and bent with age.
Her blackened branches reach up to the sun
in daily supplication for her wage.

Each year, I think, must surely be her last,
but faithfulness is undeterred by whims.
So, not content to rest on harvests past,
she bears young fruit on geriatric limbs.

With every spring, new buds and blooms emerge
and swell with promise fed by summer rains.
Though twisted and decrepit, still the surge
of liquid light flows through her ancient veins.

I’ll gather and preserve her living gold
to line my pantry shelves against the cold.

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MRice-HeadshotMerrijane is a resident of Kaysville, Utah, where the mountains loom large, the sky is beautiful even when it’s gray, and the geese are always just passing through. She loves nature in a literary sense, often drawing from it to write poetry. But do not even think about trying to take her camping unless there is a structure nearby with functional plumbing.

Image: Vincent van Gogh, De roze perzikboom (The pink peach tree), 1888.

Serendipity by Merrijane Rice

Erickson Image 1

The sunset splashes honey colors wide
and floods the valley floor with golden light.
It laps the mountains on the other side
before it circles down the drain of night.

Upon the dark blue dusk, the moon floats high,
adrift within the last of twilight’s glow.
Too early for the stars to fleck the sky,
the city lights take up the task below.

I’m one such light, now flowing through a stream
of weekday traffic like a shooting star.
By merest chance, I caught this evening’s dream
because I had to navigate my car

from basketball to piano for my son.
Thank heaven for the errands I must run.

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MRice-HeadshotMerrijane is a resident of Kaysville, Utah, where the mountains loom large, the sky is beautiful even when it’s gray, and the geese are always just passing through. She loves nature in a literary sense, often drawing from it to write poetry. But do not even think about trying to take her camping unless there is a structure nearby with functional plumbing.

Photo by Nicholas Tonelli, 2007, via Wikimedia Commons

LONNOL Events

WIZ Valentine9

WIZ’s heart and LONNOL Month is officially open.

We’ve received a few tokens of affection but are longing for more. Please search your files for poems, short fiction, short essays, mp3s of readings of your work or of other work that’s in public domain, your original artwork, etc. and send them winging our way.

Along with submissions from our readers, we’ll have a winter wonderland/fond feelings haiku chain, to be initiated soon.

Also, February 24th is WIZ’s birthday. We’ll be four years old. To celebrate, we’ll be offering one or more of WIZ’s old movie giveaways. Giving our readers presents on our birthday is something we really enjoy doing. To “win” an old movie, all you’ll have to do is read each movie’s review and comment in the comment section. WIZ will contact you with further instructions about how to receive your free DVD.

It has been a hard, difficult, overlong (some would say interminable) winter. Let’s use February to warm things up.

2014 LONNOL Month begins on WIZ

WIZ Valentine1b

It’s another LONNOL Month, WIZ’s traditional month-long celebration of love and the natural world.

We’re issuing an open call for nature-themed, love-laced writing and visual arts: original poetry, essays, blocks of fiction, art, music (mp3s), videos or other media that address the subject of love while referencing nature, even if lightly. By the same token, we’re interested in nature writing raveled up with themes of love.

If you’ve written artsy Valentine wishes to someone beloved—or perhaps created a video Valentine or made a live reading of a sonnet or lyric poem that’s original to you—or if you’ve written a short essay avowing your love for people, critters, or spaces that make you feel alive, please consider sending it to WIZ. Click here for submissions guidelines.

We hope you’ll join our month-long celebration combining two of the most potent natural forces on the face of the planet–love and language.

Goat Paths by Patricia Karamesines

Echinopsis_Atacamensis_and_the_Milky_Way

We are the Day Society:

See how we skirt surefooted as goats

the Crevasse of Desire.

God is in the well-placed step that bears us above Death,

while Beauty weeps for us beyond the goat paths.

 

By day, the way is clear, so complete,

the ground floor and ceiling blue.

We see where we are and name it alone and only.

On our tongue, world settles into a few words—

unanswered, unanswerable shouting.

 

Then sunset’s splinters—orange, mauve—

 fade to night’s raw transparency

and the first call of a star.

 

Perfect, calling silence, star following star

like deer stepping from shadow or heavy forest

into the dark’s open, stream-curled meadows.

 

Now we’re in sterner metaphor,

the embrace of the abyss,

brought by goat paths

to the brink of wilderness.

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Patricia KaramesinesPatricia Karamesines has won numerous awards for her poetry, essays, and fiction, including awards from the University of Arizona, the Utah Arts Council, and the Utah Wilderness Association. She is the author of The Pictograph Murders (Signature Books 2004), an award-winning mystery novel set in the Four Corners area.  Her poetry appears in the anthology Fire in the Pasture (Peculiar Pages 2011).   She writes for the Mormon arts and culture blog A Motley Vision and runs the nature writing blog Wilderness Interface Zone that advocates for the “greening of human language”.  She has taught English classes at USU-Eastern off and on since 2006 and now tutors English students for the NASNTI Grant program–a job she dearly loves. She lives with her husband and three children a stone’s throw from beleaguered Recapture Canyon, has put in plenty of foot-time in the canyon, and is currently completing a work of creative nonfiction about her strange and wonderful experiences there.

Affectionate thanks to our LONNOL Month contributors!

Valentine_503

Heart-iest thanks to participants who contributed to our sometimes sweet, sometimes bittersweet, sometimes citric Love of Nature Nature of Love Month.  The list includes:

Sue Halvorsen
Merrijane Rice
Ali Znaidi
Scott Hales
Enoch Thompson
Lee Allred
Theric Jepson
Karen Kelsay
Sarah Dunster
Percival P. Pennywhistle

Quite a spectrum to love this time around. Thank you all for the colorful month of feeling–smack dab in the drab of winter!

God Filled the Earth with Tigers by Sarah Dunster

From a photo by J. Patrick Fischer3 via Wikimedia Commons Images

God filled the earth with tigers;
men and beasts warring for blood.
He painted them with warning
signs—what scarlet spots! In God
we do not doubt. God filled the

earth with tigers.

The Father blessed his daughters
in the order of His good
Son, that we might all know good
and evil. And still we choose
sore fruit. God filled the earth with

tigers.

The spirit’s rushing waters
cannot stop Missouri silt
from covering the sins of
generations. What are we,
crouching here? God filled the earth

with tigers.

And you. Somehow there were no
stripes to warn. I fell, a thorn,
and you rid your hide of
pain. But, Love, certain death waits,
biding in the long, slow bleed–

God filled the earth with tigers.

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To read more of Sarah’s work on WIZ, go here, here, here, and here.

Image from a photo by J. Patrick Fischer via Wikimedia Commons Images.

In the Night by Sarah Dunster

Snowy ground2 by Kim Hansen via Wikimedia Commons Images

We slumber heavy in the night
so long as hills are bare and white,
and what is real, is pressing. What
can you do but answer. What can
you do but take my jaw in hand
and answer. And what can I, but

know you while night visions press us, hot
in our down blanket. What cannot
be spoken we will speak with night
still resting on us—your air
on me, and my warm shoulder bare
to you—real, real as day is light

until we wake in morning’s cold,
when mountains, rimming in the gold
of cresting sun, can no more be
deferred. What can we do but rise.

That I could stop you with my gaze
as you work your task of leaving me.

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Sarah Dunster is wife to one, mother to seven, and an author of fiction and poetry. Her poems have appeared on Wilderness Interface Zone as well as in Victorian Violet Press, Segullah Magazine, Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, and Sunstone Magazine. Her novel Lightning Tree was released by Cedar fort in April of 2012. When she is not writing, Sarah can often be found cleaning, cooking vegetarian meals, holding small people in her lap, or taking long, risky walks after dark, especially in thunderstorms.

Finding the Powderham Sprite by Karen Kelsay

Foggy_Pond_by Dwight Burdette2

I sensed her by the fallow deer that fed
upon the oak leaves near the sea, and then
around the flooded estuary bed
where egrets hid between large willows. When

a heron waded through the narrow pond
and mingled with the geese, I almost saw
her cherry lips flash like a regal wand,
or damselfly, who quietly withdraws

when humans catch a glimpse. I know she’s here
to gather peacock-butterflies and shells,
until thin moonbeams slowly draw her near
and ghostly forms ring silent vesper bells.

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Karen Kelsay is a frequent contributor to Wilderness Interface Zone. To read her bio and see more of her work, go here, here, here, here, here, and assorted other places on WIZ.

“Finding the Powderham Sprite” was first published in Trinacria.

Quiet Flame by Karen Kelsay

Dubb_Diary Image is in United States public domain

I read through my old diary tonight.
Inside a sweater drawer is where I found
it—tattered travel log. It had a slight
tear on the spine, but still was neatly bound.
I read my thoughts on some far distant night,
stone turrets wrapped in ivy, summer-crowned
green willow trees with soft Parisian light
across the way. My memory swirled around
each consecrated word, until your name
appeared, a shining brilliance so profound
it burnt the yellowed page with quiet flame.

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Karen Kelsay, native of Orange County, has been widely published over the past five years in poetry journals and anthologies. She is the founder of Kelsay Books, a thriving new press comprised of four imprint companies. You can read various articles about Karen, her press, and her poetry at: The Poet’s Corner, The Nervous Breakdown, Katie Hoerth’s Blog, Thick With Conviction, and A Motley Vision.

“Quiet Flame” was first published in String Poet.